Tony the Tiger’s Vulcan Salute

May 6th, 2009 by Jeff | 3 Core Dumps

By now, I’m sure most of you are aware of the new Star Trek movie coming out this weekend. (If not and you consider yourself a “Trekker”—note the distinction from “Trekkie”—you should officially have your Vulcan ears bobbed.) Needless to say, the marketing engine is in full force, with movie tie-ins showing up in every parsec of the galaxy. (Note to Burger King: Captain Kirk bobbleheads? Seriously?)

I was rather amused to find the following ad in a magazine recently, so amused in fact that I just absolutely had to share my thoughts on it. I’m pretty sure that copyrights extend to advertising just as they do to other media, so it’s probably technically infringement for me to post this. However, we’ll just throw in a link to Kellogg’s official site and say it’s a product endorsement in hopes that it makes things kosher. (Lord knows I’ve eaten enough of their cereal over the years for that to count).

Full Kelloggs Star Trek Ad

Full Kellogg's Star Trek Ad

There are a number of things that stand out concerning this ad. Perhaps the most obvious is Tony the Tiger’s three-fingered Vulcan salute. For those out there who don’t know their tribbles from their tricorders, the Vulcan salute is generally performed by most humanoids in the Trek universe by separating the middle and ring fingers, keeping the index and middle fingers together as well as the ring and pinky fingers together, with the thumb sticking out on its own. Having one too few fingers tends to present… problems, and I’ve always wondered how cartoon characters, many of whom tend to be finger deficient, might cope. When Fooker gave Ki the salute, I fudged; Fooker mysteriously grew an extra finger between panels one and two and subsequently lost it between panels two and three. (I’m not sure why the cast of GPF have only three fingers per hand; I just drew them that way and stuck with the convention. But I’m not above making fun of myself about it.) Tony the Tiger’s three-fingered salute just looks… wrong, and for some reason I just can’t seem to let that go.

Another thing that I find funny is what the ad promotes: In “specially marked packages” of their cereals, Kellogg’s is inserting “beam up badges”—essentially, little plastic gizmos in the shape of various Trek insignia that light up (and probably make a sound) when you press on them. You can call yourself a true Trek nerd if you take exception with this, to which all the non-nerds should reasonably respond, “Why?” Well, firstly, for those willing to receive entirely too much information, they’re not called “beam up badges”; they’re communicators. Secondly, communicators weren’t built into Starfleet insignia until the era of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and the film is set just before the time of the original 1960s series. In Kirk and Spock’s (amok) time, communicators bore much more resemblance to subspace cell phones (which, in true Trek circular fashion, is doubtless the inspiration of many flip-style mobiles in use today).

But the real thing that sets off my old Trek nerd radar is this. Take a look at the image below and see if you can find the error. If you can’t, hand in your phaser and communicator go back to Sector 001; you’re not fit to enter Sto-Vo-Kor.

Kelloggs Star Trek Ad Close-Up

Kellogg's Star Trek Ad Close-Up

I will now be hiding under my desk for the rest of the week. It’s obvious I shouldn’t be allowed in public again until I am forced to watch 24 hours straight of American Idol or whatever else passes for “acceptable” entertainment for the washed masses these days.

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