Crackle: (v) to make slight, sudden, sharp noises, rapidly repeated
Long, long ago, when rock and roll was a baby boom and bellbottoms were considered normal wear, there was a cereal named Rice Krispies which lacked an identity. After all, it was just puffy rice, which, when sitting in a bowl of milk for more than twenty-eight seconds, turned into slush.
Something needed to be done.
A young executive at the Kellogg’s Corporation noticed that when milk was first spilled onto the cereal, it made slight sounds, as the fluid gradually smothered the rice particles and drowned them, leaving them lifeless.
He believed he heard snap—and saw one of the rice particles leap from the bowl momentarily, giving the appearance of pop.
So he went to the ad executives and explained that the product could be marketed by referring to it as the “snap-pop cereal.”
The room frowned. What did “snap-pop” mean? How could this be personified? Who was going to eat a cereal that was going to snap at you, or pop off its opinion? The whole thing seemed doomed, until one young, female intern said, “They just need a third friend.”
This time the room scowled. No one had suggested there was a “they” involved, and certainly had not intimated that a friendship had been formed. Yet the man who had the original idea for “snap and pop” was so desperate to salvage his ego that he grabbed onto the notion and started looking for a third “sounder” to complete his trio.
The first ten ideas were horrible.
Snap, bubble and pop.
Snap, drip and pop.
Snap, sizzle and pop.
Snap, sneeze and pop.
Snap, whisper and pop.
Snap, clap and pop.
Snap, moan and pop.
Snap, giggle and pop.
Snap, wink and pop.
Snap, argue and pop.
Each possibility seemed to have the fragrance of failure.
Going home at the end of the day, the young executive was explaining his dilemma with the Rice Krispies to his family over dinner.
He was deflated.
He was discouraged.
He was ready to give up on the whole campaign.
Then his four-year-old daughter, who had opted not to eat liver and onions, but instead had grabbed a bowl of Rice Krispies, leaned her ear down to listen, and said, “Daddy? I hear a crackle.”
The man nearly fainted. He had no idea his little daughter was even listening to the conversation, and he certainly was unaware that she knew the word “crackle.”
Or perhaps it was Divine Revelation, brought to him from the Mount of Advertising.
He didn’t care.
He took it to work the next day and the rest is cereal promotion history.
It became “Snap, Crackle and Pop.”
It was a Rice Krispies treat.