Why does Kurt Vonnegut’s Breakfast of Champions kinda feel like one big, beautiful ad for Wheaties.

In the introduction to Breakfast of Champions, Vonnegut tells the story of a mentor he had once upon a time, a copywriter named Pheobe Hurty, who hired him to write advertising for her department store.

I found this to be a fascinating introduction, primarily because the book itself feels like one big beautiful ad (or a parody of an ad) for Wheaties.

Not only does the book cover look strangely similar to the iconic box that houses the cereal, but the title of the book is actually the cereal’s slogan

“Breakfast of Champions.”

Kurt Vonnegut writes a line or two reassuring the reader and General Mills that this was not at all his intention and that the title of his book has no affiliation with the company’s beloved breakfast cereal.

*Vonnegut is typing now*

“The expression “Breakfast of Champions” is a registered trademark of General Mills, Inc., for use on a breakfast cereal product. The use of the identical expression as the title of this book is not intended to indicate an association with or a sponsorship by General Mills, nor is it intended to disparage their fine products.”

As both a poet and a copywriter I’m constantly looking for ways to bridge the gap between prose and advertising and I think Vonnegut, inadvertently, did just this with Breakfast of Champions

Even as I read the fine print, I couldn’t help but think:

“My fuck, would some Wheaties pair well with this wondrous manuscript.”

But, I digress.

By Cole Schafer.

P.S. The image you see at the beginning of this article is not Wheaties, obviously, but instead something delicious called an “English Breakfast” which includes sausages, back bacon, eggs (sunnyside up), lightly seared tomatoes, browned mushrooms, fried toast and beans.

P.P.S. If Kurt Vonnegut makes you weak in the knees (same), you should read the articles I’ve written on him here, here and here.

Sticky Notes is my email list reserved for entrepreneurs, creatives, marketers, writers and freelancers looking to sell like hell (without losing their soul).

Originally published at https://www.honeycopy.com on May 2, 2021.

I write pretty words and sometimes sell things. https://coleschafer.com/subscribe

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