Where to begin with this? Tony is Back is the type of mysterious spec work that brings up more questions than it answers. Who is behind this? What are their motivations? How are the production values so high? Where is it coming from?
I won't be able to answer any of that today, but what I can say is that this transgressive campaign subverts the childish innocence of Kellogg's commercials and brings us something wholy different, familiar and yet unrecognisible.
In Candy, cereal mascot Tony the Tiger is on hand to bring out the tiger in a sex worker having a bad day; and it only gets worse - or better depending on your perspective - from there on in. Account Managers and Brand Managers at Kellogg's must be dropping like flies. They've probably drafted in their team of emergency lawyers.
Since the first three Tony is Back videos have been released, Tony has had his accounts deleted from Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and even Gmail. We're due another 7 videos, but apparently the campaign has been suspended for now. This is what happens when you go up against one of the world's biggest brands - it looks like you don't stand a chance.
In light of this recent censorship, we got in touch with 'Tony' and asked for his side of the story.
This is what Tony had to say:
It took about 12 hours for Kellogg´s to shut us down. Of course we don't have proof it is Kellogg´s but I think no one else has an interest in shutting us down.
I am very happy about YouTube, protecting the freedom of speech of us individuals. In advance I thought it would be Twitter that was the last. I has been a big surprise how quick they move.
I was thinking long and hard for this. I saved a lot of money to do this project, and talked to a lot of people if they could do this discreetly.
But yes, this is totally my own project. I didn´t talk to Kellogg´s about it. I didn't even ask them. However, it doesn't make it any less worthy. I wasn't going to talk about these thing at all in this campaign. But now the way they have pushed me in the corner… people need to know what they and other corporations are doing.
I was working for them, deep inside the industry, for decades, so I know what I am talking about. I have seen it all. No matter what they say. Of course they will try to diminish this. But I have to say, Kellogg´s is not the worst company at all, there are far worse companies.
For years I felt really bad about it. Even physically. I knew what I represented. What kind of world I was endorsing. It was just about the money. Not morals. But I didn’t know how to get out. I was so deep in it. I feared I would lose my friends, my family. My place in my community, my house, and my job, of course. Everything.
So I just wanted to do something else. Help someone else. On my own terms.
There´s a lot at stake here. I have been doing this since the 50´s. Most of my life. I was so young but things were much better then. We weren't this big and destructive in the beginning. It was just small local production. In the end I started feeling so ill that I had to do something. I think people deserve the truth. Somebody needs to take responsibility.
I think this campaign went wrong, and I have to turn it around now that I have realized the true state of things.
Update (added here by Dabitch) So.. about those Tony The Tiger spots.... - we know who did them.