Look, we're all making questionable decisions at the moment (most often in our case involving repeat visits to the fridge) – there's just a lot going through everybody's minds right now. At least, that seems to be the only possible explanation for Kellogg's Froot Loops' decision to redesign its beloved mascot, Toucan Sam, into something entirely unrecognisable and, quite frankly, terrifying.
The breakfast cereal brand took to Instagram this week (below) to reveal Toucan Sam's new look, and the reception was less than warm. The thousands of comments are all along the general lines of, "NOPE," "NO," "PLEASE," and "STOP". We have a feeling Kellogg's didn't read our guide to character design before going into this.
So what exactly has Kellogg's done to its poor, innocent Froot Loops mascot? For a start it has removed an entire dimension. Gone is the 3D design, replaced by a rudimentary 2D cartoon. For some reason, he now has an abnormally large eye. There's also a headache-inducing, psychedelic beak, along with a mouth that simply doesn't fit. The whole nightmare makes us feel a mixture of scared and trippy (and the huge eye suggests Sam's feeling it too).
To add insult to injury, we'd say the old Toucan Sam is... fine? He certainly looks more friendly than frightening (which we'd say is important for a children's breakfast cereal mascot). And perhaps the greatest design crime here is that the new Sam is completely unrecognisable. Old Sam has appeared in countless TV adverts and could easily be spotted on a busy supermarket shelf.
One positive outcome is that some illustrators have taken it upon themselves to provide their own takes on Toucan Sam (below), which manage to maintain the original, recognisable design while adopting the flatter style it seems Froot Loops' designers were going for.
Okay, this is how I would redesign Toucan Sam based on this and his past iterations. One, don't use gradients, they look tacky and distracting. Two, I took from this design and his 1960s design giving a more defined shape that doesn't have the weird mouth pasted on. https://t.co/22getfVqS5 pic.twitter.com/GdPzlQMic0May 11, 2020
After seeing the Toucan Sam redesign & @bobjinx ‘s posts just analyzing it, I really just wanted to draw em! You know, for fun! pic.twitter.com/8gjMBOGkQIMay 11, 2020
With such a fierce backlash, perhaps we'll see Kellogg's backtrack on the new design (who can forget the infamous movie version of Sonic the Hedgehog and its subsequent redesign?). If it doesn't, only time will tell whether the new Toucan Sam affects Fruit Loops sales – he might look scary, but we'd hate him to see him become a cereal killer.