Larry, the Quaker Oats Dude, Has Had Some Work Done

How would you describe oatmeal, the viscous goop that's a big breakfast favorite among conscientious gastroenterologists? If the words "fresh and innovative" spring immediately into your head, then you're exactly the sort of forward-thinker that carbohydrate purveyor Quaker wants as part of its marketing future.

As part of a wider effort on the part of its parent company PepsiCo Inc. to reinvigorate its global brand, Quaker hired brand-design firm Hornall Anderson to revamp its logo, which features a ruddy Quaker gentleman named Larry smiling after what was surely a bountiful meal of oatmeal cookies, oatmeal, and granola bars. It became immediately clear to Hornall Anderson that Larry needed to drop some major pounds, get a more contemporary haircut, and hit the gym if modern consumers were ever going to associate the 134-year-old Quaker with "energy and healthy choices." The result is a broad-shouldered, strong-jawed Larry with the same relieved-bowel smirk adorning his face.

Though Larry's neck seems significantly thinner, Michael Connors, the Hornall Anderson's vice president of design, insists that this is so not the case, modestly explaining that Larry still has "the same neck," it's just his haircut that "makes him look thinner." All in all, says Connors, after the smoothing, the nipping, and the tucking, "We took about five pounds off of him," the goal being "not to have anyone notice that he's different." Quaker certainly doesn't want to startle people before they've had their morning oatmeal — the company would rather have consumers notice gradually that Larry looks a little different, building up the courage meal after meal to tell Larry that, it might just be the light or something, but he's looking a little thinner. Has he been working out? Larry's coy little smile will be the only answer they need.

'Larry,' Quaker of Oatmeal Fame, Gets a Makeover [WSJ]