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Carefully guarded trademarks assure consumers of corporate quality.
And for the moment,
even though www.kelloggs.com is built around the visual metaphor of the Kellogg Clubhouse™ and makes an effort to promote the community-minded concept of "membership," Kellogg's has shown no real desire to change its single-minded, sales-oriented approach toward company-to-consumer communication. Currently the site includes a cartoon in which Snap™, Crackle™, and Pop™ (the site's official tour guides) help a Rice Krispies®-eating family prosper. (Surprise!) Next week, in a new cartoon, they'll help another Rice Krispies®-eating family prosper. (Surprise!) Creative-writing instructors, in their attempt to imbue a qualitative process with quantitative "teachability", often point out that there are only x plots in the world (insert a number from 7 to 21); in the world of corporate story-telling, this number is generally reduced to one...
There's nothing stopping Kellogg's from developing the personalities of its characters, or giving them additional plots to play out, but what would be the point? These characters exist to sell cereal. This may limit their entertainment value, but what is the purpose of corporate-sponsored entertainment, except to sell product? Kellogg's avoids this paradox in the TV universe by simply inserting short advertisements between segments of independently produced content. Independent content will always be more entertaining than product-driven content because its producers are free to use all x plots available to them, and are, in general, less beholden to corporate propriety (i.e., Kellogg's is much more likely to advertise on a TV show that is challenging, original, provocative, and potentially offensive than it is to create a show of its own with these qualities.)
But the Web is a new medium, and so Kellogg's is trying a new approach. The only problem is, it hasn't really shed the instincts (sell! sell! sell!) that work so well for it in other mediums...