Wednesday, August 25, 2010

What's New, Jackson 5?

The Jackson 5 recorded several cereal commercials in the early 1970s that were aired on Saturday morning during children's programming. I was too old for Saturday morning cartoons at the time, but I used to watch them, just for a chance to glimpse the J5 hawking Alphabits.

I thought I had seen them all a hundred times, but there was one that my friend Jeff used to talk about that I just couldn't recall. He said he clearly remembered one with a group of kids, sitting around a table outside eating cereal when, all of a sudden, the Jackson 5's heads pop up from behind a fence. I thought Jeff must be remembering it wrong, until I came across this picture.

I knew for sure that Jeff had it right. And then, at long last, I found the commercial itself, through the wonders of YouTube and a Spanish-speaking fan.

I can see why I missed it. This one looks -- or, more accurately, sounds, from Michael's voice -- like it was made a bit later. I'm sure by then I was opting to sleep in on Saturday mornings. But I'm glad to find it now because it's hilarious. I love the way the kids act like it's the most ordinary thing in the world to have the Jackson 5 pop up in your back yard. And they're more excited by the cheap-ass magic trick in their cereal box than they are by the sight of Michael, Marlon, Jermaine, Tito and Big Jackie suddenly appearing, as if by magic.

But even the magic trick itself is funny in this context: "We lost a kid!" Stick around, buddy, and you'll see it happen for real in a few years when the Jackson 5 lose Jermaine. You should have asked for his autograph while you had the chance.


  1. I came across this picture some weeks (months?) ago before burying it into my "to sort" folder and then forgot about it, I did wonder though when this was taken and what it was for, the alphabits ads never crossed the pond.
    Here we had the J5 cartoons after Thriller's big success, when Europe was burning up with Jacksonmania fever. I was about 15/16 at the time.
    I seem to recall another photo too, but it's too confusing in my mind as if that was during the same ad or not. ... should go dive into that "to sort" folder, but not today.
    Have a nice day! and thanks for adding once more a connecting some dots into the J5 section of my brain. *smiles*

  2. I remember spotting this commercial, a couple years back. You're right J5C, this commercial looks a little later than the previous commercials. This commercial looks like mid 72, while the other looked like late 71.

    I do wish the commercial focused more on the Jackson 5 than the little kids....who cares about them :o)

  3. is Michael wearing his flower outfit here? the brothers looked like they have their familiar 72 outfits on, but Michael looks like he has more yellow on than usual. Can anyone spot it?

  4. how many commercials did the j5 shoot for Alpha Bits. at least 5 or 6 right? i've lost count.

  5. I think at least 5. There were also some different versions of the same set-up, so that makes it even more complicated. I'll do a future post with all the others. (Personally, I love the singing ones.)

  6. I love the ship - Michael says so adorably: "You don't know?" --- and why were they eating breakfast in the backyard -- I don't think I've ever done that. Of course commercials like these just led me to believe the J5 just might pop in on me somewhere. What a fun time to be a kid.

  7. It's a bit surprising that they didn't have a song to sing for this particular commercial.