For Its First New Cereal in 15 Years, General Mills Makes Animals Our Food-Dispensing Overlords

And the agency? Walrus

Animals act like people—and vice versa—in a singularly silly campaign introducing Tiny Toast, General Mills' first new breakfast cereal in nearly 15 years.

Created by an agency with an appropriately beastly name, New York's Walrus, the teen-targeted push casts critters as our benevolent overlords; humans are depicted as lower forms of life, addicted to Tiny Toast's real-fruit taste. (Hence the tagline "Humans can't resist.")

In this spot, for example, a horse does the whispering for a change:

Nice hoof-work there! Here's an explanation of the creative strategy, straight from the horse's mouth:

"Every animal has a food it can't resist—a food that will make it run faster, wade into danger and do silly tricks," Alan Cunningham, client senior marketing manager, tells AdFreak. "In these situations, it's usually a human feeding a horse a carrot, or a human setting out cheese for a mouse. We knew that flipping the script and having the animals in control would be a hilarious, eye-catching way for us to deliver the irresistible taste message."

In the next clip, tiny Homines sapientes pester a seagull who just wants to read the paper in peace:

"Everything was a gigantic costume except the horse, which was animatronic, and the costume makers did an amazing job," explains agency chief creative officer Deacon Webster. "The feathers were put in one by one … it was painstaking, they really got into the details. For example, we really wanted the seagull to be wearing a Bluetooth because if seagulls were human, they'd obviously be the Bluetooth-wearing kind, so they made us a custom one—it actually lit up blue."

In the ad below, a couple gets a bird's-eye view of a situation that's long plagued our feathered friends:

"We ran these and the other concepts by groups of teens in the early stages and the 'Humans Can't Resist' campaign was the fave," Webster adds. "They really liked the idea that the animals were in the driver's seat. There was a bit of redemption story that they liked, given the way humans have used animals over the past few centuries."

To wit: An anthropomorphized sheep dispenses sheer delight … or maybe shear delight? Works either way:

"As you can imagine, casting for the sheep guy was highly amusing," Webster recalls. "They'd be on all fours in their underwear pretending to be shaved by a giant sheep, and we'd be like, 'Act like you're enjoying it more!'"

Designed to spark social sharing across mobile media, the campaign's four 15-second spots are appearing on Snapchat, Instagram, Tumblr, YouTube and Spotify.

CREDITS

Client: General Mills

Brand: Tiny Toast

Marketing Director, Channels and New Products Cereal: Chad Johnson

Senior Marketing Manager: Alan Cunningham

Associate Marketing Manager: Courtney Schroeder

Marketing Planner: Leigh Lovett

Senior Producer, Creative Content: Clint Allen

Agency: Walrus

Chief Creative Officer: Deacon Webster

Copywriters: Alex Behles, Marco Diaddezio

Art Directors: Elliott Graham, Evan Vosburgh

Head of Integrated Production: Valerie Hope

Account Director: Clementine Barker

Account Executive: Stacey Skulnik

Senior Broadcast Producer: Christopher Thielo

Production Company | Core Spots: Pet Gorilla

Director: Luc Schurgers

Executive Producer: Dominic Bernacchi

Head of Production: Kyle Hill

Director of Photography: Tim Burton

Visual Effects on Set: Zak Stoltz

Line Producer: Jack Hogan

Production Company | Product Tags: Crooked River Productions

Director: Walrus (In-house)

Executive Producer, Line Producer: Brian Bennhoff

Visual Effects on Set: Alejandro USA

End Tags, Motion / Titles / Graphics: Alejandro Ussa

GIFs, Motion / Graphics: Jorge Morales