Commentary
6:20 am
Tue July 2, 2013

Into It: The Strange Life Of Discontinued Breakfast Cereals

The cereal aisle is run by kids. It’s their purchasing power that brings TV shows, movies, and even stranger products together with the barons of breakfast.

Mr. T cereal debuted in 1984 and was essentially T-shaped captain crunch. But it got a little more cool when it teamed up with Pee Wee’s Big Adventure.

"Kids didn’t just cuddle E.T., they ate him."

When movies inspire cereals, the commercials sound like trailers. The kids become part of the action and eat like the stars.

Less likely products have tested the waters, including the Nintendo Cereal System, a cereal featuring Mario and Zelda.

Barbie got into the game, too, inviting kids to her breakfast party. One clever box for Barbie’s cereal was designed to be cut up and folded into a Superstar Barbie Vanity Table.

What’s interesting about these cereals is how they differ from other promotions like posters or lunch boxes or bed sheets. Kids didn’t just cuddle E.T., they ate him. It’s a connection between products and characters that goes beyond accessory and right into the digestive tract.

This commentary originally aired March 12, 2013.