Fan Favorite: Why are we so Nostalgic for Sugary Breakfast Cereals?
Have you ever wondered how far people would actually go for Klondike? Well, that's why on affairs is going undercover and a new snack size series. Watch on a disguise herself and go undercover with a hidden camera to find out what crazy things real people would do for their favorite ice cream. You can see the full videos at Klondike dot com slash videos, and also share what you would do for a Klondike bar by using the hashtag hashtag for a Klondike. That's hashtag the number four. The letter A Klondike show us what you'll do for a Klondike bar. Welcome to part time genius production of iheartradio. Guess what? Will, what's that mango so ever? I we can college. I remember being in line for breakfast. And there was just this wall of amazing breakfast cereals, I remember this, and we were of course, away from our parents for the first time and being independent and responsible. And so I had my bowl high with lucky charms. I mean, I think it was lucky charms, but whatever was the most nutritious cereal out there a love that when you were finally like free from the oversight of your parents like that was the first thing express your freedom, was like get a big bowl of cereal. But yes, I do remember that big awesome wall of cereal and the people we were with started making fun of me for eating kid cereal, instead of muesli or whatever. And right. Then the star basketball recruit Elden brand walked up and got a bowl of the same thing, and it was just pure silent felt like such a trendsetter remembered that that's when you became the most popular kid on campus. Not really. But part of the reason I love breakfast cereal so much. And, you know, we used to have big parties mental flaws where everyone would bring box of their favorite cereal. But there's just such a wonderful association with childhood and, and Saturday morning cartoons. And that's actually why we're talking about serial today. Let's dig in. Podcast listeners. Welcome to part time genius. I'm Wilkerson, and as always, I'm joined by my good friend Mangueira, I'll take her and the man on the other side of the soundproof glass, eating a big bowl of frosted many weeks. Good choice today. Our producer, trysts McNeil, but today, we're heading back to the grocery all for a closer look at all things cereal. You know, the most whimsical nutritionally questionable at all of this at every part of a complete breakfast. And so we'll dig into the weird stories and surprising facts behind our favorite brands as well as a few of the lesser known breakfast, cereals that time forgot then little bit later. We'll be joined by gave funds Secca. He's a TV writer, and he spent more than a decade collecting childhood nostalgia, in the form of vintage cereal boxes. It's a fascinating collection. Yeah. And he's also the host of this really fun YouTube series called serial time, which is the series on the subject of breakfast cereal. I mean he's been doing it for a couple of years now. So I'm super excited to just hear how he got started. Yeah. Well, among the most devout of cereal enthusiasts, but he's definitely not alone in this mean lots of people love cereals and in the hundred and fifty plus years, since it came onto the market, cold breakfast. Fearless become a staple. For millions of people around the world. And you know strangely this love affair. Got it start in the late nineteenth century kind of as an accident, you know, is this invention of fundamentalist Christians who were seeking to promote a healthy sin free lifestyle, and much of this is, you know, stories that people have heard, but it's still pretty interesting. The bland foods, as you know, like toasted corn and oats where they were thought to help suppress sexual urges and prevent arousal. And so this thinking led to the creation of a few notable foods including Graham, crackers, of course. But the one that really caught on what the public was cereal. So Dr John Harvey Kellogg, the superintendent of a sanitarium in battle creek Michigan, and his younger brother will they stumbled upon the recipe for what would alternately become cornflakes after allowing some of the cook? Tweet to sit out for too long. The Kelloggs return to find the we'd had gone stale, but rather than toss it out, as you might think they would they decided to roll it out into thin flakes, and then toast them and the cornflakes were a big hit with their patients. So the Kellogg's decided to start marketing them to a broader public yen as interesting as that early history is, it's pretty familiar by this point. So instead of going deep on sanitariums and grape nuts where we're going to focus mostly on the second act of the serial story that's the period from about nineteen fifty to the early nineties, when marketing to children really took off and sugary cereals really began flooding grocery store, aisles. Well before we dive into that colorful, history I thought we could take a quick look at the state of cereal today, just by the numbers and it's amazing. How far cereal is come from its earlier's as this niche product to the mammoth industry that it is now. So just looking at the US market alone. The breakfast cereal industry now generates nearly ten billion dollars in annual revenue and. That's according to Mortimer intelligence. Did you say mortar kid? A hobbit. It's kind of jarring name, if you're a Lord of the rings fan, but it's just coincidence. Unfortunately. But, like I was saying Americans lead the world and cereal consumption it ranks fourth on the list of the top ten package goods sold in the US and ninety two percent of American households. Buy a box of cereal at least once a year, and we're not the only ones who love it Canada, the UK, Australia. They all have cereal markets that rival the size of our own in recent years, cereal, is also gained in places like China and India and Brazil. In fact, the breakfast cereal marketing industry rakes in about thirty five billion dollars in revenue each year from the foreign markets. So I when I took my kids to India last year. I remember waking up jetlag the first day and they were already up watching cartoons. And we're wired on a bowl of Choco's. We didn't have Choco's. In all my years ago India, though, we never ate breakfast, and we never in front of the TV, so it was almost jarring to see this American experience transplanted to India, but, you know, sugar in green is obviously, this winning combination but I have seen a few reports about sagging sales as more and more people for either easier or healthier breakfast options. So pop tarts, or avocado toast, or you know, maybe a quick trip to the drive through on the way to work. And, and of course, there's this growing segment of the population that just doesn't eat breakfast, period. So when you were listing those easier, and healthier options, and you said, pop tarts, which one of, I'm guessing that's the easier, but they are delicious. Well as big as the cereal industry is today. There's no question that it used to be bigger so- Cording to NPR serial consumption peaked right around nineteen ninety six I guess it was and steadily gone downhill ever since generally by a full percentage point each year. And while the stuff you mentioned is definitely played a part in that decline. It's really. Due to a combination of factors. You know, for example, back in nineteen ninety lawmakers passed the nutrition and labeling education, act, and that made it mandatory for all products to include the now, commonplace list of nutrition facts, on the packaging, and this made it easier than ever for consumers to see the nutritional value or lack thereof, I guess, and they could look at this and all of their cereals, now at this point, and as more people became educated, about just how much sugar and carbs, they were eating or feeding to their kids. You know, they started to think twice before tossing a box in the car, whenever they with grocery store. So I looked into just how sugary cereal can be and it's insane like the whole cereal industry uses around eight hundred sixteen million pounds of sugar in his products every year. Oh, and apparently most of that's going into Honey smacks. For some reason, you know out there. That's the one with the cool frog wearing the backwards baseball cap on the box that you were talking to me for saying, no, Honey smacks. Go. Come on. Well Honey, specs is consistently ranked the worst serial for your health, because it has less than two grams of fiber per serving and it's ingredients break down to almost sixty percent sugar. It's tasty. But according to the environmental working group, there's more sugar in one Cup serving of Honey smacks, than there isn't a hostess twinkie, no way suite obviously. And I knew it wasn't good for you. But honestly, like the taste of honeystone, I wouldn't have guessed most sugary cereal that it kind of makes my teeth or just thinking about them. And you know that, that sugar to fiber ratio might make us cringe, but there's one particular Syra leading demographic that you're not gonna hear complaining about this, and that's kids or at least my kids, my kids to actually, do you, remember there was this great Calvin and Hobbes where Kelvin's eating his favorites. Cereal. I think it's something like chocolate frosted sugar bombs, and he gives Hobbs try and hav just shaking gagging from the sweetness and Calvin says actually they're kind of land till you scoop some sugar. But when it find really interesting is how deeply ingrained the fondness for breakfast cereal is, and so many people, and how so much of that seems rooted in their childhood. Yeah. I mean I'd say for most adults here leaders, it's a big part of the allure. I mean it's what you were saying about your kids. There's these, you know memories of watching Saturday morning cartoons with a big bowl of Cap'n crunch in your hand. Or maybe indulging in a late night, fix of lucky charms sitting in your college dorm of you're talking about right. Well, it sort of a comfort food in a way, it takes us back to simpler days, when most of us were a little more carefree about what we ate and why. Yeah. So nostalgia is definitely a strong factor, actually, what are some of the weirdest discontinued cereals? You can think of I was trying to think about this earlier. And I remember seeing a q-bert cereal. And when I was a kid, did you remember Cuba? That video game character and also eating one with Smurfs Aries like my parents only really butter sugar cereals for maybe a year or two. But I remember sampling some weird ones. Yeah. I mean, I always thought it was completely bonkers that some cereals didn't even mask the fact that they were candy like, you know, Kellogg's did a candy corn pops. But even more blatant in that there was a nerds Syria ticked off that I never tried. It incurred cereal. By the way listeners, I just wanted to break, I because willin I've been debating what the fischel candy of part time genius should be and will was saying it should be atomic. Fireballs obviously. And I was thinking nerd, so if you have any thoughts on this, please let us know on Facebook Twitter, but will you're right. Nerd cereal isn't saying, but looking back like the box was so cool. It came in these two flavors, just like the candies and you could pour aren't out of one side, and cherry out. Can you imagine like who would let their kids by this probably? It also makes me wonder like if so much cereals appeal is rooted in the past. Like what does this say about our future? Well, you know, there's a new generation of kids getting hooked on cereal now and many of them will stick with it into adulthood. And that's part of the reason there's so many brands, duping it out, trying to get kids to eat these serious because people's breakfast routines tend to be the same. You know pretty much every day. But there's another point to consider those declining sales numbers. We mentioned earlier also coincide with declining birth rate. So, you know, I it's, it's not like the birth rate will ever drop to zero or anything like that. But fewer kids does result in fewer cereal fans. Obviously, it's funny that's something that started out as health food became so dependent on selling sugar to kids. But I guess that's usually how it goes with food trends like someone with these very altruistic intentions gets the ball rolling, hoping to better society. And then, you know, at a certain point the marketing team steps in right? Yeah. Dr Kellogg used to give, lectures about his methods for leading a healthy lifestyle. And he would sometimes give out the recipes for his cornflakes so that people could make them at home. And at one talk, he told the crowd, you may say, I'm destroying the health food business here by giving these recipes but I'm not after the business, I'm after reform. I mean, yeah, he really did seem to believe in what he was selling. Sure. But the problem was that the same can be said of his brother, will call, and we'll tried for years to convince his brother adds sugar to their cereal believing. It would add some flavor to what he called horse food, but the tipping point came into late forties. When their competitor post cereals released sugar, crisp so posted branched out beyond the health food market with its first sugar coated cereal. And like it or not Kellogg, kind of had to follow suit. Yeah. But it's really post World War Two that the industry started to focus on marketing directly to kids. I mean co companies had dabbled with these ads before including Kellogg's use of snap, crackle, and pop as a characters for Rice Krispies, and that marketing began in the nineteen th. Thirties. But even with cartoon gnomes, pleading their case, you know, these, these highly processed, oats and grains, were a tough sell without adding something sweet to it. That's crazy, though. I like I had no idea that the rice Cruces trio had been around that long. I thought they were post fifties like most other cereal mascots. Yeah. Snap, crackle, and pop. Or actually, one of the longest running ad campaigns in history. And as I was looking up there actually v longest for cereal brands actually, by the way. Did you know that their names are on amount of Pia? Sounds for what you hear when milk is added to the cereal. But apparently Rice, Krispies were always marketed as the serial you can hear and this was even before the mascots came along. In fact, the guy who created the characters did, so after being inspired by one of the brand's previous radio jingles. And because I know you're dying to know what it was. You're the Cy jotted them down. So. All right. Listen to the ferry song of help, the Mary, chorus sung by Kellogg's Rice Krispies as they merely snap, crackle, and pop in a bowl of milk. If you've never heard food talking now. Your chance. I'm so hungry for the serial. Now, why didn't they do this before thousand jingle like it doesn't even run? I was going to put it to song just made up against it. So I mean obviously mascots were smart move since it's hard to market like a fairy song of health without them, but wasn't there? Also a fourth Nome for awhile. Yeah. You bet there was. How he stood for the cereals nutritional punch. I think, and of course he didn't last very long but let's get this back on track. So gradually, the Sweden. Cereals, come to dominate the market. Thanks, you know, because of product placement and children's programming. And they've never looked back since in. In fact, the breakfast industry is still one of the top spenders for a commercial airtime. More than a million cereal ads air on TV each year, which cost companies like post and Kellogg's more than I wanna say like half a billion dollars. Yeah. Well, so all those old TV ads are big part of why cold cereal took such a hold in the hearts and minds of baby boomers, and then they of course passed on that faunas to their now adult children. But, you know, there's another element that helped endear entire generations to breakfast cereal that I wanna talk about it, and that's the prizes that came packed inside those boxes. I mean the president's played such a big role like I might have wind box of cookie crisp. But if the apple jacks, had one of those wacky wall walkers in it, I mean, you remember those sticky octopuses that will walk down the wall. Walls horse. Yeah. Then, of course that's the box I'd end up with. Yeah. I mean, I'm with you on that extra. I would buy a box of cereal for one of those now it's been years since I've played one. They were awesome. But you know, let's talk a little bit about how toys and games ended up inside the boxes as well as some of the coolest strangest ones that come along over the years. But before we do that, let's break for a quiz. With the discovery it miles card. You can go further than you've ever gone, before, like son in your face book in your hand kids playing in the sand further because the discover it miles card offers unlimited one point five miles on every purchase, and they'll automatically match all the miles you earn at the end of your first year. So you're thirty five thousand miles could become seventy thousand. It's just that easy. Get out there with you. Discover it miles card today. Limitations apply. Discover match for new card members only learn more at discover dot com slash travel. Gabe fund sicko on the program accomplished, TV writer, but he's also got the best on boxing series on YouTube. It's called serial time TV and this is where he unblocks is in reviews incredible breakfast. Cereals, welcome to part time genius, Gabe, thanks for having me. I'm I'm a fan of the podcast. So I'm honored to be on Joe. Thank you so much. Now, I know you're out in Los Angeles main guess she's actually on vacation today. He's out on your coast in Portland. So he sends his best, but, but I hope you're still willing to chat with me today. How of course, of course right now? So we've read that you have over three hundred cereal boxes in your collection, and I have to ask, like, how did you get into this, in the first place and water? Some of your more prize cereal boxes. You know, I've always been a collector. And I think at one point I saw Spiderman so that was my first box it was from nineteen ninety five zero and I, I saw it on EBay when I was just browsing and I was gonna be cool to have them. Bookshelf, and I bought it, and then, and then I was like, well, you know what? There's other ones that I remember from back in the day, and, and then it kinda just turned into this black hole on EBay where I just would was scouring and finding old cereals that brought back these memories to me. Well, no, I think I've read that you've tried some even some like thirty year old cereals. Is this, right? Yeah, yeah. When I first started this embossing channel and YouTube, and I started it because I started run out of room of just having these unopened cereal boxes on my shelf, and it was like, you know, this is just taking up space. And this is kind of silly, I could just flat out. So I, I decided like, well, let's for posterity let's just record myself opening these boxes. And you know, recording with Syria looks like documented it. So I'll have it, you know, for posterity and, and I never thought I was gonna try them, and then I'd open some boxes and I. Well, let me just see if it holds up. I think the oldest one I might have tried was a, a grin, smiles giggles and lasts area, which was from the seventies, I believe. That was pretty gross. I'm guessing. Oh man. They're terrible. They just don't you know, it tastes mostly, like it tastes like the plastic in a way, it takes toxic and disgusting. But I would I definitely do not recommend it. I can't imagine now in, in terms of cereals, are there, any that you wish you could have tasted. If you could go back in time. There's one from before my time in the seventies called, sir. Great fellow. It was actually they really are great. Fellow and baron von read bury. They were general mills cereals, and the great fellow when tasted like, you know, great great cereal. Great kool-aid. I imagine I never actually got to try it, but I'm a I'm a sucker for grape flavored things, and, and even though I got a nerd Syria, which came out in the eighties, which I, which I got to try back back, then I it just wasn't the same. You know, wasn't it wasn't that great, great flavor? It was kind of it wasn't a great zero and so great film. Just like I look at the ad campaigns. I see on YouTube, and I'm just like this. This is like this is great. I really wish I was alive for this one. I could I could try that one. Boxes you'd love that your collection, but haven't been able to get a hold of for me. I kinda this point, I feel like I'm at peace, and I've kind of completed my collection and kind of everything I want one really random Serio from general mills in the nineties, it was called when you lead does. And I remember it was on shelves for a limited time. And I just can't find a box of that anywhere. And that's probably like the last, you know, my great, you know, white whale that I'm trying to obtain still. Here again, your voice that maybe you're not quite at peace, yet until you find fun. If, if any of our listeners out there know how to get a hold of some did you say? Boy, nearly tos. All right. We'll see what we can do for you. So they'll be a free part time. Genius t shirt on the line for these people. But, but before we let you go mango, did, leave me, a quiz, titled the most important meal quiz of the day. So I'm going to ask you a few questions. If you obscure cereal questions and all you gotta do his answer them. How's that sound? All right. I'll give it my all right question, number one, according to a nineteen fifty-six confidential magazine report. What breakfast cereal was supposedly responsible for Frank Sinatra's success with women. It's gotta be weedy. It is weeds. Yeah. The article claim that Sinatra could thank weeds for his reputation as the quote Tarzan of the Bouda, so, yes. Congratulations there. All right. One for one question over to before a certain tiger became spokes animal for this breakfast cereal. He had to beat out three other contenders. Elmo the elephant new, the new and Katy the kangaroo. What cereal are we talking about frosted flakes? That's. That's right. It's frosted flakes now. Katie actually appeared on boxes in the nineteen fifties before, Tony the tiger started out selling her. All right. Here we go question. Number three. What popular breakfast cereal created by John Harvey Kellogg, was eaten aboard the Apollo eleven. Cereal board the follow Rice Krispies, it's a pretty good. Guess it was actually Kelloggs cornflakes. And so the Sierra was mixed up with fruit and formed into cube since eating it with milk was impossible without gravity. All right to for three the last question, here, the big prize is on the line while Saddam Hussein loved raisin bran and requested it for breakfast in prison. He detested this serial. Oh, I actually read the article about that fruit loops. Yes, it is fruit loops, and according to US soldiers, one of the few times, he actually looked defeated in prison was when a bowl of the fruity cereal was brought to him but so. Congratulations. You got three out of four which qualifies you for our top prize? Which is a note to your mom or your boss, singing your praises so gave congratulations. And thanks so much for joining us on part time genius. We'll, thanks for having me. Well, it's been great. Thank you very much. He there part time genius listeners got something for our small business owners out there, people who may want to produce their own podcast. We all know that being plugged in and prepared when an opportunity comes up, it's pretty crucial. Those moments happen all the time. I mean they're happening right now. In fact, so having a business car that shows how professional you are in your own pocket. Ready to hand out that's the first step to making something happen, your next big opportunity is coming right now. And all it takes to feel like you're ready to own the now is ten dollars. 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The company started putting pin back buttons inside boxes of their Pepsi real. So they started with a series of thirty six pins, that featured World War, Two squadron insignia from the US military, and this was before switching over to fictional heroes, like comic book characters. Yes. Doesn't some of the earliest in-box prizes. We know about. But if we're talking buttons, my favorites are the urkel for president campaign buttons. They were giving out during the Clinton Bush senior campaign. Do you remember those Steve urkel family? I can't say I remember running for president. But what cereal was that urkel os horse? It was one of those short lived novelty cereals that crops up for a few months. And then disappears like. Basically, it was a sweeter version of chairs but wackier with banana strawberry flavors. But obviously we're getting ahead of ourselves with all these in the box buttons, because Kellogg's actually got into the price game long before that in the earlier, days, the prizes or premiums to call them in the industry weren't in the box at all. And as far as we know the first prize used market cereal was this ninety-nine children's book, it was called the funny jungle and moving pictures book. And it was given to customers who bought two boxes of Kellogg's cornflakes at participating grocery stores after a couple years, of course, Kellogg's decide to stop handing out the books on location instead offered them as mail an offer and within four years. The company distributed two point five million copies of the insane. Like it was obviously a hit with customers Kellogg kept releasing new additions, and they kept going on with jungle books, all the way up until nineteen thirty seven I mean, I guess that's pretty cool. I have to say, I was never a fan of those male. And prizes. I mean, I was all about the instant gratification, you know, want to dig in elbow, deep cocoa puffs or something, and just be able to fish around and find that cellophane bag, and then you got to eat the cereal dust off your arm. Those were definitely the days, but I never really minded the mail. Like I was partly the joy of receiving any kind of males kid, the fact that anyone was sending me anything was exciting enough, even if I had to save up like a bunch of box tops. Wait six to eight weeks to make it happen, though. That was mostly dying at the time we were kids, I remember doing it a few times. But you know that the real reason the cereal industry stepped up its game. And the prize game, specifically in the nineteen fifties is pretty interesting. And it's thanks to the invention of what was called the screw injection molding machine. And, and that's what made plastic prizes faster and cheaper to produce in this wasn't the only time the inventor of injection moulding, then was James Watson Henry would lend a hand to cereal prizes. So in the nineteen seventies Hendry's develop the. Gas assisted injection molding process. And this is what made it possible to produce these finely detailed hollow plastic objects. You know, the ones that environmental groups love so much, this cut caused even more and pave the way to golden age of these in-box cereal prizes that flames the cool prizes. I found were from the sixties and seventies yeah, EV course I'd be remiss if we didn't mention the Bose's whistle that came inside the box of Cap'n crunch in the early seventies talking about things, we'd be remiss not mentioning about Cap'n crunch. What about John Lewis foot, which was Kevin crunches, stinky, barefooted rifle? But anyway, gone with your whistle story. Was this, like, really high fish little whistle. And the Bose's was was one that was historically used on naval ships when commanders need to pass orders to the crew. But couldn't be heard because of the waves or whether or whatever, and these days, it's mostly using naval ceremonies Beden, Cap'n, crunch is case it turned out that when you covered one of the whistles holes, and blew it produced this frequency of twenty six hundred Hertz, which was the exact tone AT and T us to control his long distance lines and, basically, this legendary hacker, John, Thomas Draper, who is also known as Cap'n crunch crunch, or crunch, man. He learned that he could use one of the whistles to hack the phone system and get free long distance calls loves it. They figured. It's why that old hacking magazine was actually called twenty six hundred and then why Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak even track down the whistle and built a box that replicated the frequency to try imprint call the pope. I love that. I love that. They pretend to be Henry Kissinger, and it almost got there until there's like suspicious Bishop caught on. And then the pope didn't get on those pesky Bishop while injection moulding allowed for all kinds of awesome plastic toys. You know, some of the funniest ones, I came across we're actually, even like metal or some of them, even paper in nineteen fifty four Wheaties gave away, these miniature state license plates, and they were made of solid steel, and you've got one in each box, but you could also buy them in four sets of twelve by mailing box top and a quarter a whopping quarter and that the only hitch to this was that Alaska Hawaii had not yet, but come states, so there were actually only forty eight plates, and all, I mean, so do you think people were like pissed when those two states got statehood of? A few years later and suddenly, their collections were incomplete actually postseason did release a set of, of the full fifty later on, but apparently weedy still gets letters about the original campaign to this day. So maybe, there's still a few determined fans out there, just pestering them about their missing plates or something. I hope so. But one of the most unique prices I read about was this paper prize. It was a deed to one inch of land in the Yukon waiters. A cereal company was giving away land by the inch a great idea. Right. So Quaker Oats sponsor to show in the fifties called sergeant Preston of the Yukon. Remember sergeant president of the Yukon and this was their way of linking the show to the product and full disclosure. This was a male in price. But this one was totally worth the wait. So for just a single box top kids would receive a deed for one square inch of the nineteen acres of Yukon territory that Quaker at purchase and they've actually purchased this from the Canadian government for a thousand dollars. The promotion was this massive success and quickly. Out more than twenty one million in just a few away. Yeah. And lots of people would write the company or even the Canadian government from time to time to check in on their property. But sadly, the reply was not good news. Apparently none of the deed holders were actually landowners, because the individual DS were never formally registered after the recipient signed, then hot stove estano and end Canada repossessed all the land in nineteen sixty five due to non payment of get this thirty seven dollars and twenty cents in property taxes. That's for ticks. I mean, it also reminds me of the time during the eighties, when general mills started giving out actual one dollar bills as prizes and boxes of Cheerios sounds kind of like lazy like let's, let's just put a dollar. And there, except in this case, the prize was actually worth something. It's way, better than the promotion Cheerios offered in the fifties, when they gave away, color reproductions of confederate money and an album to keep them in. That's so strange. Actually, I think I'd rather have the phony deed that we sort of transitioned into these more lack. Mr. dare I say, like crappy prizes, but honestly, at least they're still prizes, and much like cereal sales cereal premium seemed to be on the decline these days. Yes, I noticed last time I was in cereals, there seemed to be fewer boxes advertising, physical prices, but there were a bunch of boxes, offering some kind of digital prize like access to an online video game. And I guess cereal premiums change to reflect the times, and most kids, these days, would prefer some type of like instant online entertainment over plastic figure, but I also read a report from the center for science in the public interest, and it determined that it was far cheaper to make an online game than to produce a traditional plastic premium and that definitely figures into the decision to scale back the physical prizes. Yeah. I think you're right in and not to mention that there have been a few safety scares that led to recalls on millions and millions of these plastic prizes that were deemed choking hazards, and it's actually the reason prizes were moved from the inside of the cereal bag itself to between the bag and the box lining this. In the early nineties cereal company saw that this was kind of a risk or a great risk. If kids accidentally started gobbling up these prices. It's, it's funny because crackerjack went through a similar judgment with the prices inside their boxes and concerns about safety and rising cost of production, next anything, but paper prices whereas these have really cool stuff in there. Like Dakota rings and tin. Soldiers mixed in and, and since crackerjack was the first food to actually offer box prices way back in nineteen twelve it kind of seems fitting that zero premiums would follow suit. Yeah. I mean that's true. But, but, but all's not lost for these in the box cereal prizes. I mean there's still some physical knickknacks sprinkled in there. But most of these are just tying with usually like big media, vents, or maybe movie releases, you know, the new Star Wars movie had some of these company that and besides there's another serial philosophy that suggests it's what's on the outside of the box that matters, not the inside. Okay. Mangoes. We've covered the actual cereal as well as the cool prizes that you find in. Inside the bag or just outside. So how about we conclude are anatomical tour of the cereal box by focusing on the box itself. Yeah, that's good. I'll start as off with little cereal box psychology back in two thousand fourteen researchers from the Cornell food, and brand lab study, eighty six different cereal box mascots, and ten grocery stores throughout New York, and Connecticut. And from this world wind tour, they found that boxes are strategically positioned to make icon act with children on average. The kid targeted cereal boxes are placed on the lower shelves usually at a height of twenty three inches while adult and cereals tend to sit higher at forty eight inch shells and to capitalize on this ideal like the mascots on the kid cereal boxes tend to feature mascots with is pointing downward and average angle of nine point six degrees. But the spokes characters on boxes of adult cereal, generally look, straight ahead. Wow. That's almost kinda creepy. So both the manufacturer and the retailer in on the scheme in and they wanted to make eye contact with their target. Markets. So why is that I understand wanting your product is visible as possible? So it attracts more attention. But why does making eye contact with the character? The spokesperson matter that much that was the question behind a second study, where researchers looked into how much I contact with cereal box characters influences people's feelings towards the brand, and they asked sixty three participants from a private Northeastern University examine a box of tricks cereal and rate their feelings of trust and connection to the brand. And the catch was that some participants were given a box where the tricks rabbit was looking straight ahead and others. Had this box with a rabbit was looking away or down from the viewer, and I'm guessing people preferred, you know, whichever rabbit was looking their way a wide margin. It's really incredible. So the finding showed that participants who had I contact with the rabbit felt sixteen percent. More brand trust silly rabbit. And they're feeling of connection to the brand was twenty eight percent higher than participants who looked at a box of tricks with. The rabbit looking away and not only that for participants who made I contact with rabbit actually said they enjoyed the serial more compared with another seal. That lacked I contact Ponant away. I mean that's so creepy. Like, it's, it's also notes that looking at a picture of a cartoon rabbit in the eyes can generate so much goodwill and actually calls us to buy the party. And the fact that they chose this crazy rabbit that works is just baffling. Yeah. But then there's an upside to the research because, now healthy cereals that are well, intentioned can actually make mascots do the same thing, but I don't wanna leave the subject of tricks, because actually I've found some interesting stuff during our research here. So, for instance, you know that before he was an animated character, the tricks rabbit was this really like Janki looking hand puppets, general mills, it was they were unsure early on of how to sell the concept of a serial obsessed rabbit, because the original slogan for the cereal was, I'm a rabbit, and rabbits are supposed to, like carrots. But I hate carrots. I like tricks really rolls off the. Yeah. And it also makes the whole silly rabbit tricks for kids campaign sound like poetry, hip, at that campaign had problems of its own. I mean for one thing it may general mills worry that they were sending a bad message by having this rabbit continually failed to achieve his goal. Charles Scholtz concluded that Charlie Brown missing the football was, what made the whole thing work. General mills took the more democratic around in nineteen seventy six they put this question to vote should the tricks, rabbit finally get to eat the cereal, he craves and kids also turned out to be more merciful than Scholtz? So almost a hundred percent of the votes were in favor of giving the rabbit, his long-awaited, and that same verdict came again during a campaign. I think it was in nineteen eighty which was the last time the rabbit got his own bowl of tricks, that's been a long time. I mean you can tell he's jonesing for bowl. No kidding. I mean so these cereal mascots tend to break down into to camp, so there's the more laid back confident relaxed characters like, Tony the tiger golden crispy, and they mostly sell cereal on the basis of their friendly demeanor and cool. Look, I mean, how cool is Tony no Bendinha jacket? And then he's unhinged cereal junkie Clinton. Just busted out of the looney bin. So these are your tricks rabbits and Sonny the cuckoo bird, and like all of these crazy characters. Yeah. Those guys pretty terrifying and most of their designs only gotten more over the top as time's gone by what do you mean by that? So two can't Sam used to have the proportions of an actual bird, but, you know, his body shave wings and feet, have slowly become more human like and, and the colors like they're all super exaggerated in brighter and bolder. And it's crazy. And actually have you seen Cap'n crunch is latest. Look like he used to be this old, weary sea-captain. But now he has these huge popping is and wide grin. And even his eyebrows gotten more excited like their way up over his hat now his hat has eyebrows impressive. I mean, there's always been something suspect about that guy anyway for being honest. Did you hear the controversy a few years back? Somebody had noticed that the sleeves of his uniform only had three yellow stripes, instead of four I love the people are paying close attention to it. But apparently that Pegues him as a commander in the navy, not a captain. So to his credit when fans called him out crunch took to Twitter to plead his case. And so here's what he said all hearsay and misunderstandings. I kept in the SS guppy with my crew, which makes an official capman my book besides it's the crunch, not the clothes that make a man almost gives me goose by speech. Great speech, but it's always been, my belief that the facts, make them in. So I think it's time for a little fact off. All right. Let's do it. I'll go first here, so. All right. So did speaking of captain crushed. Did you know that in two thousand nine a woman in California filed a class action suit against the maker of Cap'n crunch is crunch berries? And she did this because she said for four long years. She'd been eating these crunch berries, and thinking they were real fruit, strawberries, and blueberries raspberries. And of course, crunch berries. But of course, the judge in Sacramento, did not see it her way and quickly dismissed the suit. So according to one study commissioned by Kellogg. When ten percent of Americans had tried eating cereal with orange juice, or coffee, instead of milk. I mean is that true? Like have you ever done that I have never done that would ruin a bowl. No. Absolutely not. All right. Well, according to different study, women who regularly cereal before conception are slightly more likely to have boys. There's something about having a high energy and take before conceiving. They leads to these greater odds. And the food that seemed to increase the odds the most was cereal. That's crazy. So you're an oatmeal leader, right? Well, I mean, sometimes yeah, we'll do you know that the quote strawberries, and peaches, and Quaker instant oatmeal are actually dehydrated apples. I didn't know the hand the blueberries dehydrated figs, and for Quaker sake. I hope that the crunch very lady, doesn't find out at least real fruits, as true, they're real fruits. Yeah. Unlike the crunch berry so, well as kids, we always heard that we should eat a good breakfast, anytime. We need to do anything important that day. And studies do back that up often showing that breakfast eaters will perform about ten percent better on memory tests than those who skipped. But it also appears that eating not just breakfast. But specifically cereal leads to a better mood so Cording to research from Bristol university. There are long-term effects of eating cereal for breakfast, and their findings, quote, people feel better serials boosted their mood. So I mean that's just the kind of support we needed as Syria leaders, and what a happy Wade. And this episode, I'm gonna let you take home, the trophy this week and listeners if there are any great zero facts, we forgot, please. Let us know you can always write us at part time genius at how stuff works dot com or call us on our twenty four seven fact hotline one eight four four genius. You know we love hearing from you. Well, and don't forget to join us again next week when we publish episodes, asking the questions how big is the US military, and what are the worst jobs in the world, including a peek into the important world of Wales not collecting that's going to be pretty interesting. Are you? Sure. That's right. That's right. All right. Well, that's it for today's episode. Thanks for listening. Thanks again. For listening genius production of how stuff works and wouldn't be possible without several brilliant, people who do the important things we couldn't even begin to understand Tristan McNeil does the ending thing. 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