Culture

Cheetos Without Chester? That’s The Future Of The Brand In Mexico Thanks To A Ban On Mascots

Can you imagine your bag of hot cheetos without Chester on the front of it? What about your bowl of zucaritas without Tony the Tiger? Well, thanks to a new law in Mexico meant to help fight back against a growing epidemic of childhood obesity, that is the future of these beloved food brands in the country.

Mexico is one of the world’s most obese counties. It’s estimated that extreme obesity among children has now reached 15% and it’s even higher among adults.

Experts hope the new regulations will help inform consumers about unhealthy foods and restrict how such items are marketed towards young children.

Mexico has said one last adiós to Chester the Cheetah as the country moves to combat an obesity epidemic.

Thanks to a law passed in 2018, Mexico is officially saying goodbye to the cartoon cheetah that has symbolized the Cheetos snack on its packaging and in TV commercials since the mid-1980s.

The law banning Chester and other cartoon characters began taking effect last October when the packaging of food and beverage items high in sugar, salt, fats or calories started displaying uniform seals in large, striking black-and-white lettering announcing that they contained excessive levels.

The upcoming ban — on cartoon characters, drawings, and celebrity images on packaging — applies to foods and beverages that qualify for at least one of these government seals. It does not become obligatory for manufacturers until April, when other famous characters like Tony the Tiger — and Mexican packaging cartoon superstars like Rey Carlos V (a candy bar image), Melvin the Elephant (Choco-Krispies), and the gansito (a goose character featured on a popular snack cake packaging) will also disappear from Mexico’s store shelves.

This is the brand’s new look in Mexico.

Cheetos' new look.

In October 2018, when the regulations were passed, Katia Yetzani García of the nonprofit El Poder del Consumidor said they were based on the Pan American Health Organization’s statement that such marketing toward children takes advantage of their inexperience with advertising.

The secretary-general of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, Angel Gurría, said last year that “the incidence of overweight and obesity among the Mexican population has reached alarming levels,” with about 73% of Mexicans considered overweight. Childhood obesity, he said, has doubled from 7.5% in 1996 to 15% in 2016.

Chester the Cheetah has a long history with the brand.

Chester Cheetah was created for an ad agency in the United States in 1986 by Brad Morgan, whose voice was briefly featured in the original U.S. animated commercials. A Saturday morning cartoon around the character planned by the Fox network in the 1990s, Yo, It’s the Chester Cheetah Show, was scrapped after groups like the Action for Children’s Television raised strong objections to it as an insidious marketing tool directed at children.

Mexico is not the first country to do away with many of our beloved food mascots.

Mexico is not the first country in Latin America to get rid of cartoon mascots on unhealthy foods. Chile passed a similar law in 2015 against the packaging or advertising of foods high in calories, fat, salt, or sugar that uses “hooks” directed at minors under 14. As a result, most cereals and other “junk foods” in the country have packaging free of such imagery.

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This Indigenous Village In Mexico Trains Their Children As Soldiers To Combat Gang Violence

Things That Matter

This Indigenous Village In Mexico Trains Their Children As Soldiers To Combat Gang Violence

via Getty Images

In the town of Ayahualtempa, Mexico, in the state of Guerrero, reporters see a shocking image whenever they visit. Children armed with guns, trained to defend themselves. The disturbing scene is meant to be shocking. The village of Ayahualtempa is under constant attack. A prominent heroin “corridor”, they are the victims of violence and carnage at the hands of gangsters and the cartel.

In order to gain the Mexican government’s attention, the Ayahualtempa villagers dress their children up as soldiers. Then, they invite the media in.

Ayahualtempa
via Getty Images

When reporters arrive, the children of Ayahualtempa dutifully line up and put on a performance. They march, they show how they would shoot a gun from one knee, or from flat on their bellies. They tell reporters that their mock-violent performance is “so the president sees us and helps us,” as a 12-year-old child named Valentín told the Associated Press.

Because the Mexican government doesn’t protect Ayahualtempa, the display of child soldiers is a form of protest for the small indigenous village. The people of this remote region of Guerrero want protection from the National Guard, and financial help for widows and orphans who have been made so from organized crime.

The villagers don’t trust local authorities, and for good reason. Guerrera is the Mexican state in which 43 teaching students were abducted and killed in an event that is known as the “Iguala mass kidnapping”. Authorities arrested 80 suspects in connection to the event. 44 of them were police officers, working in conjunction with a network of cartels.

Although the demonstrations function largely as a publicity stunt, violence is very much a part of these children’s lives.

via Getty Images

Parents train their children to walk to school with loaded guns, ready to defend themselves against violent gangsters.

The attention-grabbing antics have, to some extent, worked. On one occasion, the government donated some housing material. On another, benefactors gave the community’s orphans and widows scholarships and houses. But as soon as the periodic media storms die down, the federal government continues pretending Ayahualtempa doesn’t exist.

The hypocrisy of the government’s response is frustrating to many. “We’ve normalized that these children don’t eat, are illiterate, are farm workers. We’re used to the Indians dying young, but, ‘How dare they arm them!’” said local human rights activist Abel Barrera to the AP, with a heavy dose of sarcasm.

As for now, until the government moves to protect the community, they say they will continue their demonstrations. “They see that the issue of the children is effective for making people take notice and they think: If that’s what works, we’ll have to keep doing it,” said Barrera.

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Spanish Voiceover Actress For Jessie From Pokémon Dies And Fans Mourn

Entertainment

Spanish Voiceover Actress For Jessie From Pokémon Dies And Fans Mourn

Warner Bros. Pictures

Pokémon fans in Latin America are mourning the death of Diana Pérez, the Spanish-language voice of Jessie of Pokémon’s Team Rocket. The voice actress has been voicing the character since 1997.

Diana Pérez, the voice actress of Team Rocket’s Jessie, died at 51.

Lalo Garza, a famed voice actor in Mexico, confirmed the death of the Pokémon voice actress.

“Rest in peace Diana Pérez, a strong, cultured, intelligent, and very talented woman. You are good now, friend. Nothing hurts anymore. Have a good trip,” reads the tweet.

Pérez has been a staple in the Spanish-language Pokémon fandom for decades.

Pérez was more than just he voice of Jessie. The voice actress was the voice of multiple anime characters including Luffy in One Piece and Kagura in Inuyasha. In recent years, Pérez had started branching out to directing, producing, and other branches in the entertainment industry.

Pérez’s death is being mourned by Pokémon fans outside of the Spanish-language fandom.

Sarah Natochenny is the English voice of Ash Ketchum in the Pokémon series, Jessie’s mortal enemy. The death of Pérez has impacted the larger Pokémon community. Pérez was a pivotal part of the Latin American Pokémon community for decades and her loss has devastated fans.

Descansa en paz, Diana.

There have been no plans announced for a replacement to voice Team Rocket’s Jessie. No official cause of death has been released either. Our hearts and thoughts go out to Pérez’s family and the greater Pokémon community mourning her passing.

READ: I Was Today Years Old When I Found Out This Mexican Pokémon

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