Honey Monster returns to TV as grown-up 'creator of mischief'

Honey Monster will return to the small screen on 18 January after a gap of some five years, with a new TV ad developed by The Gate London for the newly renamed Honey Monster Puffs.

Honey Monster: returns to TV ads
Honey Monster: returns to TV ads

A mainstay of British advertising through the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, Honey Monster was created by John Webster at Boase Massimi Pollitt in 1976 for Sugar Puffs, then part of Quaker.

Honey Monster's most famous ads featured him and his ‘Mummy’, played by Benny Hill sidekick Henry McGee, in various gleefully chaotic scenes.

The breakfast cereal has changed hands several times since then, and is currently owned by Halo Foods, which changed the name last October, at the same time as cutting sugar and adding honey.

The new Honey Monster is more athletic, responsible and reflective than the mayhem-loving monster of old. Alistair Ross, The Gate's creative partner, said: "We pitched the idea that Honey Monster had finally grown up – monster adolescence being longer than most.

"Honey Monster needed to appeal to the child in everyone – but to laugh with, rather than laugh at. So he evolved from King of Clumsiness to Creator of Mischief.

"Fun, but on a monster scale. Fun that was outdoors (where a monster should be). Fun that unites. Fun monsterfied."

The first ad, called 'Monstercatch', directed by Alex Turner at Infinity Productions, features Honey Monster coming to life when the cereal hits the breakfast bowl.

The ad cuts to an Alpine scene in which he catapults yellow water bombs at a crowd of excited children.

There is no speaking part for Honey Monster though, in favour of a rhyming voiceover which talks about how fun brings everybody together.  

According to the agency the ad brings out Honey Monster’s softer side, reflecting inclusiveness and individuality, and is inspired by Spike Jonze’s film adaptation of the Maurice Sendak classic children's book Where The Wild Things Are.

Andy Valentine, Halo Foods marketing director, said: "From talking to consumers, it was very clear just how much fondness and nostalgia there was towards the Honey Monster.

"The challenge for us has been to bring him out of the shadows and to introduce the Honey Monster to a whole new generation."

In December, the brand fell foul of the Advertising Standards Authority for using the phrase ‘Honey Goodness’ on its website and the ad does not use this phrase.

Media planning and buying for the campaign is by John Ayling Associates.

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