"Brings out the tiger in you" was the tagline of an advertising campaign of Kellogg's Frosted Flakes in the 1980s. There were seemingly endless iterations of this commercial shot throughout my early childhood, all based around the same basic plotline.

The commercial opens with a typical 80's child, nerdy but not too nerdy, who has just lost some type of athletic competition to two older, cooler kids, who are bullies but not too much of bullies. Also standing by, in a break from reality that you, as a cereal commercial watching child of the 1980s must accept, is Tony the Tiger. The quasi-bullies taunt the protagonist into a rematch, and Tony parries with an explanation that such a thing will happen after a complete breakfast, including of course, the advertised product. After consuming the breakfast, the child rushes out with Tony, and together they beat the rival kids, all to the tune of the jingle:

Show 'em that you're a tiger
Show 'em what you can do
The taste of Tony's Frosted Flakes...
Brings out the Tiger in You!
At which point the two cool kids look amazed at our protagonist's resurgent abilities, although the fact that this is more amazing than the presence of a seven-foot tall bipedal talking tiger is one of those things that you, as a commercial watching 1980s youngster, must simply accept.

The commercials were small masterpieces of psychological herding. The protagonist is an underdog --- but not too much of an underdog, with hidden talents. This is the way that many children, and many adults, think of themselves. The bullies are difficult without being cruel, meaning that there is a chance of victory without too much risk in the scenario.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about the commercials is that the product itself is not really featured in the ads. There are only a few seconds showing the Frosted Flakes and them being eaten, and the entire process of eating the food is not emphasized. The appearance and taste of the food is not important, what is important instead is the role the food plays in the psychological drama of victory. Frosted Flakes are not attractive or enjoyable, but are instead consumed for utilitarian reasons of increasing productivity. While the entire sociological meaning of this could be delved into in some detail, we can also just accept it as being part of the great vortex of absurdity that was advertising in the 1980s.

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