Whatever happened to toys in cereal boxes? I remember fighting with my siblings over them. In fact, we had to institute family rules.
- The toy had to fall into your bowl before you could claim it
- No manipulating of the box was allowed (we probably said “no shaking the box”).
- No opening the new box until the old box was finished.
- No peaking in the box.
- No reaching into the box with your hand.
These rules were tough, but family rules were important or chaos would ensue. I remember once when someone took two chocolate Girl Guide Cookies without taking the corresponding amount in vanilla cookies, which was a complete affront to the rules. Let’s just say it wasn’t pretty.
Getting back to cereal prizes, what happened? I have hear several stories and don’t really know which one is true. If you know the true story, please leave me a comment. I would like to know.
I have heard that some of the prizes caused injury because they were ingested by unaware cereal eaters. This seems rather ludicrous because when it came to prizes, I was pretty hyper vigilant to see whether it came into my bowl or not. Then again, perhaps it wasn’t children that these injuries happened to. It very well might have been adults who were eating these sugar laden treats. If these same parents had previously criticized their children’s eating choices, well the irony is just huge then, isn’t it?
I have also heard that in Canada this kind of marketing has been banned by the government. That sort of makes sense. I understand the need to protect children from the evil manipulations of advertisers. However, there seems to be lots of toys marketed to kids at fast food restaurants. This doesn’t really appear to be in any way different. It just changes the nagging factor to a fast food restaurant rather than a supermarket aisle. Since I find myself in the supermarket more often, I can’t really say I mind.
The last thing I have read is that this kind of marketing doesn’t work on kids today and that digital products or product redemption codes seem to work better. For a certain age group, I really can’t argue with that. Pre-teens and teens would be rather happy with downloadable content, or gift cards. As an adult, I have fallen victim to such forms of advertising. Thanks to Vector cereal I have a bunch of exercise shirts. That one was even more devious because I had to go to the store and pick them up. Thank god it was a running store and not a bike store or hobby shop. They would have had me in their marketing clutches.
In the past, I have received quite a few computer games from cereal companies. I thought this was good because the games weren’t violent first person shooters (or anything to do with zombies). Although they weren’t expressly educational, they were games like boggle, or scrabble. That is to say, they had some redeeming value.
Perhaps it is nostalgia, or perhaps it is the collector in me. (See these posts if you don’t know what I mean) I like the idea of getting something while eating my morning breakfast.
So, this is what I propose. Adult cereal should get more giveaways. These giveaways could include:
- magazines (maybe by giving them away for free we can forestall the demise of print media–or maybe they can give away e-versions)
- bottle openers (you can never have too many)
- first aid kits
- lip balm
- dental floss
I am just thinking off the top of my head. If you have any ideas, do not hesitate to comment. I would love to know what you think.