Cereal marketing is no stranger to video. In the 1960s, the cartoons Underdog and Tennessee Tuxedo were created for General Mills, and we all know the cartoon ads starring Toucan Sam, the Trix Rabbit, and Cap'n Crunch. Now, Quaker Oats is working with Funny Or Die on a Cap’n Crunch-branded video series to target millennials. The vehicle, according to AdWeek, is a middle-of-the-night talk show parody with actors Ben Schwartz (Jean-Ralphio in Parks and Recreation) and Lauren Lapkus (Orange Is the New Black and Jurassic World) as the fictional late-night—or is it early morning?—hosts Josh Bath and Samantha Newman. The program is called The Earliest Show, and the first episode premiered in late October.
It seems to be more of a very early morning show than a late-night show. Schwartz and Lapkus play a super-charged duo that is very perky. They douse their cereal with coffee instead of milk. Guests throughout the six-episode run include Reggie Watts, Pedro Pascal, and Thomas Middleditch.
If the line-up seems bro-heavy, that's because the target audience is millennial men who snack on Cap'n Crunch while watching TV or playing video games in the middle of the night, according to AdWeek. Schwartz was behind the concept of a show about a celebrity couple who break up on the air. So, things get more interesting as they progress, as you can see in the first episode:
Comments on the first episode run the gamut from "Lauren and Ben are probably two of the best improv comedians out there, I'm glad they finally have a platform to show it" to "I wish I had the willpower to end my life."
Yup, probably catching a few millennials there. Recent reports have shown that young people are not buying as much cereal these days, but perhaps Quaker Oats is hoping that some funny internet videos will help turn sales around.
It's not the first time Quaker Oats let the Cap'n hobnob with grown-ups who might eat cereal. A few years ago a Cap’n Crunch animated show ran on YouTube, in which Cap'n Crunch would talk to "some of the interesting folks I've met in my travels to come aboard the S.S. Guppy to talk about life, the internet, culture, puppies, and anything else I can dream up!"
Uh, OK. You might not be surprised to learn that it didn't last long. Here’s hoping Schwartz and Lapkus fare a little better.