Mail Online: UK, June 16, 2020 – Coco Pops has been a much-loved breakfast staple for decades with one of the most recognisable mascots in TV advertising.
But Coco the Monkey has come under suspicion from disgraced former Labour MP Fiona Onasanya, who has written to Kellogg’s asking why they chose that animal to represent the chocolate-flavoured cereal when Rice Krispies uses “three white boys”.
Ms Onasanya, who was jailed for three months in January 2019 after she was convicted of lying to police about a speeding ticket, says that there is little difference between Coco Pops and sister brand Rice Krispies beyond their colour and flavour.
The former Peterborough MP revealed she has emailed Kellogg’s UK office for clarification on why Rice Krispies have “three white boys” as a mascot whereas chocolate-flavoured Coco Pops is represented by a monkey.
Ms Onasanya, who was jailed for three months in January 2019 after she was convicted of lying to police about a speeding ticket, says that there is little difference between Coco Pops and sister cereal brand Rice Krispies beyond their colour and flavour.
She wrote on Twitter: “@KelloggsUK, as you are yet to reply to my email – Coco Pops and Rice Krispies have the same compòsition (except for the fact CP’s are brown and chocolate flavoured)…
“So I was wondering why Rice Krispies have three white boys representing the brand and Coco Pops have a monkey?”
Her comments caused “Coco Pops’ to trend, with more than 1,500 posts made on the topic. Several social media users criticised Ms Onasanya’s query, accusing her of being “offended at everything”.
One said: “The monkey is called Coco. Remove the monkey and they are just called pops.”
Other Twitter users took Ms Onasanya’s side. One wrote: ‘It is called subliminal messaging in advertising. I wrote a paper on this in advertising and marketing. Plenty of info on this available. Actually if researched some may find this is not ”dim” at all.’
The ex-MP later tweeted: “Well, given John Harvey Kellogg co-founded the Race Betterment Foundation (the Foundation’s main purpose was to study the cause of and cure for ‘race degeneracy’), it would be remiss of me not to ask…”
Kellogg’s Corn Flakes were designed to dull sexual appetite and its creator was against sex
Dr John Harvey Kellogg and his younger brother Will Keith collectively came up with Corn Flakes, a ‘rather plain dietary flake that was to help one live a pure and healthy existence’.
Dr Kellogg, the man behind the flake, was a racial purist and ardently supported “abstinence from masturbation, sexual arousal and sexual intercourse of any kind”.
The Kelloggs were devout followers of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and Dr. Kellogg was obsessed with his beliefs on wellness.
He took over the Adventists Western Health Reform Institute in Battle Creek, Michigan, and changed the name to the Battle Creek Sanitarium.
It was there that he was able to fixate on his twisted pursuits that included declaring war on the human colon, saying it ‘must either be removed or reformed’ because of its ‘desperately and depraved condition’ – due to parasites.
He invented controversial medical contraptions that include the electrotherapy exercise bed and a medical slapping-massage machine, among many others.
He was perhaps most adamant about the evils of masturbation and a treatment at his sanitarium included “applying carbolic acid to the clitoris of female patients, and electro-shock to prevent the harmful practice of masturbation”.
Dr Kellogg and his brother created a shredded wheat product they hoped would dull the sexual appetite of patients at his sanitarium but reception wasn’t favorable.
Thus Corn Flakes came into existence by accident with the wrong turn of the cereal crank.
He and his wife never consummated their marriage but adopted over 40 children.
Dr Kellogg was also an ardent eugenicist – the racist group that promoted purity of breeding.
At the time, it was 1906, long before the rise of Hitler’s Nazi Germany.
A Kellogg’s spokesperson told MailOnline: ‘It’s important that we are all talking more about how we can build racial equality. Kellogg stands in support of the black community.
“We do not tolerate discrimination and believe that people of all races, genders, backgrounds, sexual orientation, religions, capabilities and beliefs should be treated with the utmost dignity and respect.
“The monkey mascot that appears on both white and milk chocolate Coco Pops, was created in the 1980s to highlight the playful personality of the brand.
“As part of our ambition to bring fun to the breakfast table, we have a range of characters that we show on our cereal boxes, including tigers, giraffes, crocodiles, elves and a narwhal.”
In 2017 the cereal giant apologised when it was accused of ‘teaching racism’ on the cover of one of its cereal boxes.
Author Saladin Ahmed had tweeted at the company with an image of its Corn Pops box showing mostly yellow characters enjoying a shopping mall, with one brown character cleaning the floor.
Kellogg’s responded to Mr Ahmed’s complaint saying that had updated the artwork.
Coco the Monkey has been appearing in TV adverts since 1986, promising “chocolatey fun” and drilling the jingle ‘I’d rather have a bowl of Coco Pops’ into the nation’s collective unconscious.
The mascot also reportedly helped sales of Coco Pops increase by 90 per cent with brand profitability growing fivefold between 1986 and 1992.
The cereal’s United States version, Cocoa Krispies, first appeared in 1958 with a monkey named Jose as mascot.
After a series of changes, Coco the Monkey became mascot in 1991, but since 2001, Snap, Crackle and Pop have been the cereal’s mascot.
Former Peterborough MP Ms Onasanya had been jailed in January 2019 for perverting the course of justice but spent just a month in prison.
She has since complained in a 122-page memoir about a lack of almond milk and ‘measly meals like Spaghetti hoops’ during her time behind bars.
The ex-Peterborough MP made her remarks in a book, titled Snakes And Adders.
In one passage, she recalled being ridiculed during her first breakfast behind bars.
She claimed another inmate shouted: “This ain’t Costa’ after she asked for almond milk or ‘soya if there’s no alternatives.”
She also complained of a lack of sleep while imprisoned at HMP Bronzefield but said she now hopes to ‘become a voice’ for women she met in prison.
Ms Onasanya became the first sitting MP in nearly thirty years to be jailed when she was convicted of lying to police about a speeding ticket.