We have discussed video game cereals in depth but what about TV and movie cereals? They were huge in the 80’s to promote major movies and television shows like E.T, THE A-Team, Ghostbusters, and Star Wars.& But what about more recently? What are some of the promotional cereals that have hit the shelves over the last ten years that maybe we missed? Or the ones that we wish we would have?
&In 2003, (ok it’s more than ten years but oh well), Kellogg’s released this cereal the same time Disney/Pixar released the movie &Finding Nemo.& The full name for this cereal was actually “Kellogg’s Disney-Pixar Finding Nemo Cereal.” I guess &everyone had to make sure they got a piece of the profit, $949 million at the box office giver or take a few.
The cereal itself has been compared to Lucky Charms in taste and in design. The marshmallows were shaped like fish from the movie while the Cheerio colored pieces were shaped like stars. The commercial featured Bruce the shark, Dory and Marlon, as well as Nemo and several others throughout the marketing run.
Unlike most of the cereals from the 80’s and 90’s, this brand did not really have a great prize inside. Instead it had cards on the back that you were suppose to cut out and use for a memory game. Personally I think it’s kind of weak as far as fun surprises or offers go. In 2016 they followed up with the &Finding Dory &version which was basically a repackaged version of the previous cereal.
&The Avengers: &Age of Ultron
&In April 2015 Marvel released the second installment into the Avengers series titled, &The Avengers: Age of Ultron. &With the success of the first movie and Marvel in general, Kellogg’s decided to jump on the money train and release a special cereal in honor of the movie. This limited cereal (like so many others) was your basic marshmallow and oat combo. The marshmallows were shaped like the well… not really sure. They were advertised as “Avenger Team” marshmallows but the only one that I could recognize was Iron Man.
The box showed the members of team and with Marvel being so big you can imagine that the offer of the prize was going to match right? Wrong. On the back there was a word game for you to play. Once you figured out the words you had to go online and enter them for your chance to win tickets to the movie. I have a better idea, I will just buy the tickets and skip the middle part.
Before the movie left the cinema, they released another version of this cereal called “The Villain Edition.” The marshmallows did look at little like Ultron….maybe?
Pinkfong Baby Shark
&This is a no brainer when it comes to cereal and marketing. The famous song has been stuck in every parent’s and child’s head for years. Of course it really became famous when it means crowned Youtube’s highest viewed video ever (8 billion views), thanks to a South Korean education company named Pinkfong which turned it into a video. Since then the song has spawned off into multiple different versions, a Netflix Movie, TV Show, live show and toy’s. So it only makes sense that Kellogg’s would make it into a cereal.
The cereal has oat based rings which are described as “berry-fin-tastic” and of course marshmallows. However they are not in the shape of sharks ( which would have been way cooler) but rather the colors of the shark family, blue, yellow, pink etc. Kellogg’s did make the announcement that this was only going to be a limited release and not part of the official line up. Although it has been out for some time, you can still find family sized boxes on Amazon as well as Wal-Mart.
&In 2011 the Post company released their own movie cereal for the official release of the live action “Smurfs.” You know, the blue little troll, elf type creatures that ran around high on mushrooms… wait living in mushrooms. The other version might have made a better movie but oh well.
This marks the third time that a Smurf cereal has hit the stores. The other two were for the Saturday Morning Cartoon. The cereal was pretty similar to “Fruity Pebbles” except the fruit pieces were blue and white to match the Smurfs. The cool thing about this release was the one side had the modern era Smurfs displayed while the other side had the retro or original design. Other than that, no prize. But the cereal was actually pretty good and stuck around longer than the movie did.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
&In 2016 General Mills partnered with Nickelodeon to release the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” cereal. Although the cereal was to promote the cartoon series (which was in it’s fourth season when this hit the stores) it did however tie into the 2016 movie release “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows” as well.
Unlike the 1989 version of the cereal, this release had cereal shaped like the faces of the heroes themselves. But really they kind of look like generic ghosts.
&The king of cereal Kellogg’s, or at least when it comes to special releases, went the Disney route once again with Frozen II.&The actual ring shaped cereal had no taste. It was surrounded by snowman parts for marshmallows like a carrot nose, leaf and white round shapes. Both sides of the box featured two of the main characters, Elsa and Anna. Despite the movie being a huge success, the cereal was kind of a let down as far as sales go. Nobody really wanted to build a snowman out of marshmallows I guess.
&Again this is a little older than the last ten years but I had to mention it. Before she came in like a wrecking ball and grew a mullet, Miley Cyrus was Disney’s “Hannah Montana“, a high school girl who is secretly a pop/star. The show was a monster hit and therefore like so many before, it birthed a cereal.
The cereal was multi colored much like Fruit Loops or Trix however it was advertised as “strawberry milkshake flavored” or something like that. Most reviews said it was like a mix berry or even a bad version of Trix. Sorry Miley didn’t mean to break your achy breaky heart. For some reason, I don’t think it effected her very much.
Penguins: Operation Chocolate Mix
&This cereal produced by MOM Brands ( Malt-O-Meal) is pretty interesting. The full and official name of the cereal goes as follows, “DreamWorks Penguins of Madagascar Operation Chocolate Mix” yeah rolls right off the tongue doesn’t it? This actually came out six months after the movie did. It was said to promote the series of cartoons and the DVD release of the film.
For chocolate fans this was the Holy Grail of cereals and of course it came with marshmallows because why not. It also actually came with several prizes such as spoons, chocolate milk mix and more. So kudo’s to MOM for making that happen.
Captain America: Civil War
&Once again Kellogg’s saw the money behind Marvel and released another cereal, this time based off of the movie “Captain America: Civil War”(&one of my personal favorites.) &The box came in two versions, one featured a profile of Captain America (half of him) the other was of Iron man(again half) when you put the two together you got a great movie poster like feel. The cereal was better than any other previous versions of Marvel cereals.
The main cereal was a lot like Cheerios but puffy while the marshmallows had the symbols of both the respective sides. Simple but looked and tasted good. Again though…no toy, prize or offer for us. If you can’t tell this is a theme for me.
Dora The Explorer
&General Mills released a version of their own cereal with the help of Nickelodeon. The feature was ” Dora the Explorer.” The flavor of choice was cinnamon and the cereal was in the shape of stars. Not sure why they chose cinnamon as the flavor but it was nice to see something different.
Shrek Oger O’s
&MOM released the fourth version based off the movie “Shrek” in 2015. If the success of the movies and holiday specials were any indication of how the market reacts to Shrek products, it’s no wonder they had four different cereals. Picture fruit loops and you get Ogre O’s.
This one offered a free download of the Shrek app for your phone as well. I also found some pictures of the original boxes that said it had Shrek tattoos inside. Better than nothing.
General Mill partnered with the Sesame Street Workshop in January 2021 for a two cereal release.
“The C is for Cinnamon” variety features Cookie Monster and Elmo on the box. The cereal itself is cinnamon letter shaped pieces. The whole alphabet from A-Z in case you were wondering.
The second variety which was released at the same time was called ” 1,2,3 Berry” and features Abby Cadabby and Elmo on the box. This cereal is berry flavored (clearly) and the cereal is shaped like numbers 0-9.
The best part of this for me is…a prize. &Besides games which are featured on the box, the cereal offers six different books on the back in both English and Spanish. Nice job! Finally a prize that is worth something.
I do have to say that Cookie Monster got kind of screwed. I know it’s only my opinion but shouldn’t he be on a cookie cereal? I mean at least something like that? Poor guy got stuck doing an alphabet themed variety. For that matter what about The Count? Shouldn’t he be on the counting cereal? I mean isn’t that his thing?
If you aren’t familiar with the YouTube show “Ryan’s World,” let me bring you up to speed.
Ryan Kaji is a nine year old (maybe older now) Youtube star that has his own show. Originally it was titled ” Ryan’s Toy Review” but was changed to “Ryan’s World” in 2016. Basically he runs around and does different adventures with his family while featuring specific toys. Some (if not most ) are given to him to feature as somewhat of a commercial. It clearly must be working as of November 2020 he had sixty of the highest viewed videos on YouTube, and 2.8 billion viewers with over 28 million subscribers. If that isn’t enough between 2018-2019 he earned $22 million.
Ryan also has his own clothing line, multiple games for the and Android platforms, books and toy line. His first toy line had an exclusive contract with Wal-Mart, Ryan was ten years old at the time. Look’s his mom made the right decision when she left her day job as a teacher to focus on the YouTube show her son wanted. You know I must be in the wrong line of work.
Now that we are all shocked that someone playing with toys can make that much, let’s talk cereal. In 2020 Kellogg’s released ” Ryan Worlds Red Titian Vanilla Cereal.” The cereal was to promote a new show that Ryan had which was called “Super Spy Ryan” for Amazon Kids+. It was also announced that he would be releasing a video game for the online platform “Roblox”.
The cereal has red and yellow colored rings with white marshmallows. The taste of the rings were vanilla or suppose to be and the the white marshmallows were suppose to be the shape of Ryan’s superhero character. The cereal says it is still out and and available however at most locations it shows out of stock. So looks like Ryan is going to have to get back to playing with toys or eating something else. Which doesn’t seem to be a problem as recently rumors for a Ryan’s World Netflix spin off show have been in talked about. Maybe a new round of cereal too?
In August 2010 the Truth in Advertising and Federal Trade Commission filed a complaint against the show. The complaint said that they didn’t properly disclose that the show received money to advertise the products. The issue was that ninety percent of the toys featured on the show were part of a paid recommendation that was geared towards preschoolers. The problem was that it was not disclosed and that the children were too young to know the difference between a commercial and a review. It also claims that several products were unhealthy. Uh-Oh, looks like Ryan needed a timeout or good lawyer.
&Although the last year has seen the cinema take a huge financial hit as far as theatrical releases go, maybe now as we start to get back to “normal” movie cereals will make their way back on the shelves and into your pantry. What about Spider-Man, Black Widow, 007 and wouldn’t we have wanted a Mortal Kombat cereal? Maybe with some ripped out heart shaped marshmallows? I can get behind that one.
What about all the movies that have been released on Disney+ like, Soul, Luca, Mulan and even some of the shows. Can we say “The Mandalorian?” May it’s time for Netflix to step into the breakfast game. Stranger Things, Boss Baby, The Ozarks? Ok the last one is probably not the best idea for a cereal unless it’s a frosted flakes theme. But with streaming movies and shows becoming more and more of a player as far as award shows and cable television goes, why not expand into the world of food marketing? Fruit snacks, cereal or candy?
One thing we need to do in the future is take a page from the early days of themed cereal or cereal in general for that matter. Give the kids a prize or a cool offer. As a parent I can tell you that it helps in the decision making process at the store. Don’t get me wrong, a good cereal is more important but if people are going to pay more for a “limited’ released item, a little bonus prize always helps.
I remember getting an Anakin Skywalker Force Ghost figure with a mail in forum on the back of the original “Star Wars” cereal. I also got several baseball, basketball and hockey cards from “Wheaties” back in the day. Or recently several cereals offered a free book with purchase and all you had to do was snap a picture of your receipt. Needless to say, I got eight different books last summer. I also just realized that I aged myself …again.
What are some the cereals you remember from television or movie releases? What about some that you would like to see in the stores? Again I ask the question, “Do you think the idea of a themed cereal is good for marketing?” Maybe in this day and age they are not getting the sales or results they use to get in the past. Maybe the idea of a themed cereal is more work than results? What do you think?