When is a cafe not just a cafe?
That was the question I asked myself when the Cereal Killer Cafe (no relation) opened to great fanfare in London this week. Just because I think it is one of the stupidest commercial concepts I have ever seen does not mean Londoners won’t flock to send their blood sugar surging en route to a sedentary 9 hour cubicle session. But then again, with a general decline in the sales of cereals and a woeful crowdfunding campaign under their belt, it seems crazy that this project opened its doors at all.
Or does it?
The most remarkable aspect of this new cafe is not the vast selection of junkfood/cereal or the 12 varieties of milk on offer - it is the media coverage. Cafes and eateries open every day in London but I have yet to see one garner the media attention of this cute little cereal project.
In today’s world, top billing TV and newspaper coverage does not happen by chance - it is conducted and carefully orchestrated. So when I see article after article and national TV coverage of a little cafe in east London selling cereals, I smell one of those rodents that chose to eat the box instead of the Cereal Killer Cafe fare inside (in an infamous nutritional experiment).
There may or may not be a direct involvement with this venture by Kellogg’s et al, but there is a whiff of arm's length influence all over this. It is reminiscent of a certain “eggs will kill you” study published by an anonymous little university that somehow managed to gather instantaneous global media attention. At arm's length behind that particular curtain? The Big Pharma PR machine.
This type of behaviour is smart business by polished PR pros and it makes all kinds of sense that vested interests would assert some influence across their network when a story like this presents itself. The media likes to keep their big spenders sweet you know! The fact that these are clandestine strategies means we will never really know - even the Cereal Killer Cafe itself may not be aware of any such influence. Nonetheless, their little project has been thrust in to the limelight thanks to the billions of dollars, euros and pounds fighting proactively against real food.
Ironically, on the very day the Cereal Killer Cafe opened its doors, we made substantial progress in our own fight for real food. We have no PR assistance and a lot of folks standing firmly against us, but 403 early adopters said “yes” and we broke through the £20,000 goal we set for Cereal Killers 2 on kickstarter.
There is no commercial interest behind our curtain - if you pull it back you will see me sitting at a table with an Ironman Champion drinking salted water and Dr Peter Brukner enjoying a glass of red wine. Tim Noakes will be carving karoo lamb to one side and Steve Phinney will be serving his home made pemmican for starters (and his magnificent cacao ice cream for dessert!).
So, in the spirit of this “Cereal Killer(s)” contest for the hearts and minds of Londoners and the world, everyone who pledges £1 or more to Cereal Killers 2 (Click here to do that it - it only takes 2 minutes) in our last 35 hours is invited to join us at the table for a free viewing of Cereal Killers 1. You also get a free public viewing license which can be gifted to any school of your choice - we will send them a digital download copy of the movie. Don't worry, if you've already pledged you're included :)
All funds in excess of our goal will be committed to taking this movie, and our real food message, on the road.
Now, if someone could kindly go tell the Guardian, the Times, the Indepedent and Channel 4 that there’s a real Cereal Killer at large...