Mikey Likes It?

Growing up with the name Mike, and not being very picky about food, I often hear the phrases “give it to Mikey! He’ll eat anything!” and “Mikey likes it!”

The thing is, has anybody actually seen the Life Cereal commercial these phrases come from? Look:

Neither phrase is actually spoken in the commercial. Ok, people can be forgiven for saying “Mikey likes it” instead of “he likes it”, since the latter only makes sense in the context of the commercial. But as for “he will eat it, he likes everything”, it’s the complete opposite.

Listen carefully. The kid actually says “he won’t eat it. He hates everything.” In fact, that’s the whole damn point. If Mikey likes everything, then it’s no surprise that he likes Life Cereal too, so there’s no reason for the kids to go apeshit. But if he hates everything, yet likes Life, then it must be really good. Almost makes you want to go out and buy it, which is, you know, sorta the purpose of a commercial.

Since I really do like everything, it’s probably a good idea to feed this Mikey anything that you suspect is good, but want to make sure it’s not surprisingly nasty. Because then if I hate it, you can scream “he hates it! Hey Mikey!”, and avoid that product. Address available upon request for anyone who wants to send me free food. Get the original Mikey to eat some too, and you have a sort of double dissociation going on. Too bad he died from eating pop rocks and Coke *.

* [citation needed].


See also: Luke, I am Your Father: 8 Memorable Movie Misquotes


12 thoughts on “Mikey Likes It?

  1. Mike, there may actually be an excellent reason why so many people misquote the commercial with the exact opposite of the intent of the premise of the fussy eater. If my memory serves me correctly, the ad campaign began with a commercial where the two older brothers say, “Why are you giving it to Mikey? He’ll eat anything,” meaning that he would not be an accurate judge of whether it taste good or not, since–to him–everything tastes good. After a short time, no more than a couple of months, someone at either Chex or the ad agency decided it would be more effective to have the littlest kid–the guinea pig–be finicky. They then reshot the commercial. Everything was exactly the same, except one of the older kids says, “Let’s give it to Mikey; he hates everything.” I have always envisioned that whoever came up with the original version of the ad must have gotten canned once it became apparent that it did not make sense.

  2. Interesting! That would go some way to explaining it, though the only commercial that really survived the test of time is the “hates everything” version so it’s still weird that it’s misquoted so much. And that “he’ll eat anything version” REALLY doesn’t make sense. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Where did you hear this? I can’t find that original version anywhere.

    Thanks Mindi!

  3. Hi Mike,

    These commercials have stuck in my brain all these years, for some reason yet unknown. Commercials fascinated me so much at the time that I thought I’d grow up to be in advertising. When the first version came out, my brothers and I were baffled because if Mikey “eats everything,” that wouldn’t say much about the cereal. The Chex people must have felt the same way because, as I mentioned before, they quickly shelved that version and seamlessly put out the revised, finicky Mikey version. I remember my family and I commenting that it was much more sensible than the previous edition. That is the one that ran forever and that most people remember. I bet most people who misquote the more popular one and substitute the earlier version’s quote don’t even realize or remember that there were two. The weird things I find interesting…lol. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. I’m a dirty spammer! Mike left my comment here but edited it to hopefully screw with whatever dumb scheme I had going on. Thanks Mike!

  5. Sorry but I call horse shit on the “original” version of the commercial. I grew up then and saw it hundreds of times, never saw or heard of an “original” aired version, I don’t believe it’s true! I believe it proves how disconnected people are ftom focusing on reality and easily swayed by what soon became a popular misrepresentation of what was actually extremely straight forward and direct! My theory is the same psychological disorder that allows some Americans to support an idiot like Trump, proving that facts do not matter, people hear what they went to hear and pass it on as fact! Fasinating!
    Thanks Mike! ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. I know – years later… But Sam is correct. There is no “alternate” version. The kids aren’t sure if they’ll like it, so they want to test it out on Mikey, who hates everything. If Mikey likes it – it MUST be good. That’s the point.

  7. I’m skeptical of an alternate version too. I suspect this is an example of The Mandela Effect, which didn’t have a name when I originally wrote this, but does now. Basically people misremember something, but SWEAR it existed as they remember it, going so far as to invent alternate versions, or even alternate universes, to explain faulty human memory.

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