Word association time! When you think about Usher, what comes to mind? Is it Walmart? No? How about Honey Nut Cheerios? Is it Honey Nut Cheerios?
A new song by Usher will be the prize at the bottom of select cereal boxes. Starting Tuesday, a exclusive single will be available for download with specially-marked Honey Nut Cheerios packages purchased at Walmart stores across the country.
Yes indeed! And this isn’t actually a new development; Usher has a long-standing relationship with Honey Nut Cheerios. Back in August he came out with an ad where Usher and mascot Buzz the Bee rhapsodized to each other about their love of cereal via the universal language of dance:
(“Me too! We’re practically twins!” Buzz coos, jump-starting a million terrifying fanfics.)
So why would Usher decide to partner with Honey Nut Cheerios, of all brands? Apparently it’s because he’s super into heart health, says Gail Peterson, spokesperson for General Mills:
“Usher is an overwhelming talent,” says Gail. “He’s a hard worker, but without a doubt his dancing is a gift and something he clearly loves to do. Even during downtime on the shoot he didn’t stop dancing. Trust me, in this ad Buzz had his work cut out for him just to try to keep up!”
Here’s where we feel like a jerk: this isn’t just corporate speak. Usher’s dad passed away from a heart attack in 2008, and that encouraged him to go vegetarian and eventually vegan. We’d crack a joke here about how he apparently thinks bees are plants, but we know that this is the stuff of rage-filled salt-the-earth holy wars, among those who make compassion-based diet choices.
And yes, he decided that the best way to promote his lifestyle of radical, heart-healthy ahimsa was to support Walmart. But when you’re a shill, why pull punches? Other singers should follow Usher’s example. Nick Cave can hawk ice cream sandwiches. Daft Punk can fully embrace their soulless robot personae by coming out swinging for Soylent. And Morissey would be a great spokesperson for frozen microwavable dinners that you eat alone in front of the TV, sobbing.
The Usher song, “Clueless”, has already hit YouTube, in a move that surprises nobody except maybe Honey Nut Cheerios and Walmart. Give it a listen before the DMCA takedown happens. (Our verdict: it’s OK; the Cheerios are probably better.)