Bring Back Our Cereal Toys!

2-Minute Read

How do you choose your cereal? The super sweet prizes of course! Oh wait, I haven’t seen one of those since the ’90s. Now every trip to the supermarket results in despair.

As I wander down the vast aisles of braying colours and sickly slogans about nutrition and breakfast routine, I am at a loss as I realise I can no longer fall back on my fail-safe; choose the one with the most awesome-looking prize, regardless of how lame and unsugar-coated the additional contents may be.

kelloggs reflectors
Even ‘grown ups’ loved Kellogg’s reflectors!

There was a time when you were spoilt for choice. A time when breakfast defined excitement as eating your cereal served a greater purpose; you were about to get a brand spanking new toy! Eagerly trying to see through the side of the cereal bag and digging away once patience had worn thin.

It’s not even the prize that I miss. It’s the anticipation when putting a carefully chosen cereal box in the trolley thinking, ‘I hope this is one I haven’t got’ and the surprise element that livened up school mornings.

Frosties monster in my pocket
Toys in cereal worked wonders to get kids hooked on ‘collecting them all’ at toy stores as well as breakfast time.

Sure, you’d have a pile of the same prizes building up on the counter. Discarded and pushed further into the corner with every wipe down, still sealed in a half white, half transparent plastic wrap that really reeked of plastic. Those were the days. Incessantly chowing on the same godddamn cereal for weeks on end in the hope you’d collect a FULL SET, yet you were always the friend of a friend who happened to achieve this unattainable utopia.

To this day, I’m convinced these kids that obtained a full set of anything were an urban myth. Probably perpetuated by the cereal companies themselves so kids would hope in vain that they too could ‘collect them all’ and thus buy even more cereal.

Teenage Mutant Turtles cereal
Free TMNT stickers? I’m sold!

Whether my rampant paranoia is correct or not, marketing items to collect was pure genius and a tactic that spanned over decades. However, in recent years these items are nowhere to be seen which would suggest these cereal prizes didn’t actually result in higher sales. That big cereal realised folk will buy their cereal anyway as we now have this breakfast ingrained in our culture.

Would it be the same if the initial prizes hadn’t hooked us and our forefathers? Who knows. All I know is that when I have children, I’m not sure I want this eating habit to continue after realising how I got onto it in the first place and that—for whatever reason—the cereal companies are now too joyless to oblige.

C’mon Kingsmill and Wonder Bread, you know what to do.


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