The Boxtop - Cereal Netletter
Volume 8, Number 2 Spring 2006

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Spring 2006 Index

Lesser Known Character Profile: Klondike Pete and Pardner
An Insiders Look At Marketing Cocoa Puffs
Acrylic Cereal Box Display Boxes
Snack-Pack Trials: Kellogg's Cran-Vanilla Crunch
Interview: Ten Questions with The Trix Rabbit
Cereal Review - General Mills Neopets Islandberry Crunch
Cereal Review - Kellogg's Special K Red Berries
Cereal Review - Kellogg's Frosted Mini Wheats - Vanilla Creme
Cereal Review - Kellogg's Frosted Mini-Wheats Strawberry Delight
Cereal Review - Kellogg's Corn Flakes
Cereal Review - Kellogg's Rice Krispies
What's New in Cereal?



Lesser Known Character Profile: Klondike Pete and Pardner
by Topher
Klondike Pete and Pardner Klondike Pete first appeared in 1974 on boxes of Nabisco's Crunchy Nuggets. The cereal itself was a Ranger Joe reincarnation. Pete and his side-kick "Pardner" set out to strike gold, and packaged it into this cereal. The original Klondike Pete was animated by Dean Yeagle and voiced by Barnard Hughes.

Twenty-five years later, this lovable miner and mule were brought back by Nestle U.K. and animator Gary Dunn. The 1999 cereal box was covered with great animations and lore. Seems the old prospector had been on a 20-year nugget hunt and has located the motherlode in a new secret mine. But look out! Plum Loco Louie and Boot Hill Bob (aka The Breakfast Bandits) are two desperados who would like to get their hands on the "delicious boulders of wheat and honey" found inside Golden Nuggets.

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An Insiders Look At Marketing Cocoa Puffs
by Fritz Friedman
SonnyIn the mid-1970's there was a convergence of events that changed Cocoa Puffs commercials forever.

The first was that Chuck McCann, the highly talented voice of both Sonny the Cuckoo Bird and Gramps, decided to move from New York to Los Angeles. Rather than have Bill Tollis, animation art director/producer and/or me, Fritz Friedman, copy supervisor/writer/associate producer, fly out to the Coast every time we needed a recording session, they decided to have us find a new, local voice.

About that same time, focus group feedback was once again confirming that kids didn't know Sonny's name and they liked Gramps better. That didn't sit well with the Dancer Fitzgerald Sample suits or The Mills because, after all, Sonny was the 'Presenter' (i.e. the spokescharacter) on the box. Rather than doing the obvious -- putting Gramps on the box -- the challenge given to me as writer was to KILL GRAMPS!!!

That wasn't as easy as you'd think. Ever since Sonny and Gramps were introduced, the story-line format for the commercials was 'Problem/Solution': the pair would be in a precarious situation; Gramps would pull out the Cocoa Puffs and, sort of like Popeye's spinach, would sprinkle it on Sonny, making him go Cuckoo. This act would also inadvertently save them from the impeding disaster. Taking Gramps out of the equation meant there was no catalyst to introduce the Cocoa Puffs and trigger the Cuckoo explosion.

The next commercial needed was a 15-second lead-in; (not a whole 30-second product-sell spot, but rather the first half of a "And now inside every box..." premium commercial.) Here's the sans-Gramps solution I developed:

Sonny, standing alone, speaks directly to camera: "Hello. I'm Sonny, the Cuckoo Bird..." (IMPLIED: Remember that name, kids, or else!) As he speaks, something starts moving forward from the distance. Sonny, walking over to a table in the foreground, says: "To keep me from going cuckoo for a complete breakfast..." (the holy, FTC-mandated phrase that had to appear in every commercial along with an on-screen picture of the six ounces of juice, two slices of buttered toast, an eight-ounce glass of milk and cereal or the spot couldn't go on-air) "...with munchy, crunchy, chocolately, Cocoa Puffs, you gotta get a gorilla to sit on me!"

The viewer has long realized that the thing advancing from the distance is a gorilla carrying a stool, which he now plops over Sonny, pinning him down. The built-up excitement of the words "munchy, crunchy, chocolately, Cocoa Puffs" proves to be too much, however, and Sonny erupts, up-ending gorilla, stool, everything. The punch line: "Make that two gorillas!"

The next commercial brings us to the Cocoa Puffs boy and girl, who served as just one pair of the many Cuckoo catalysts who were to come:

Sonny proclaims that to keep him from going cuckoo, you have to lock him in here -- 'here' being a phone booth (remember them?). The kids, with chain and padlocks, comply. A hair's breath before the eruption at the very thought of munchy, crunchy, chocolaty Cocoa Puffs, the phone rings. Sonny answers and says: "You don't say. You don't say. You don't say." He hangs up. THE KIDS: "Who was it?" SONNY: "He didn't say." KIDS: "Well then what did he say?" SONNY (with excitement building): "He said munchy, crunchy, chocolaty, Cocoa Puffs! YAHOOOOO!!!" A disheveled, post cuckoo Sonny delivers the punch line into the phone receiver: "Next time, send me a postcard." The perfect final touch: Bill Tollis had Sonny hang up the phone on his beak.

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Acrylic Cereal Box Display Boxes
by Topher
Display Box Joel Bradley has been building display boxes for collectables. He recently began building high quality acrylic display boxes, which block at least 80% of UV light, to protect your collectable cereal boxes. While it's difficult to see in the picture because the display box is clear, the 8"x11"x2.75" small display box perfectly hugs a 10 ounce box of Rice Krispies, among other standard sized cereal boxes. Cereal boxes are inserted through the bottom of the display box, and then sealed when a slotted bottom panel slides into place. They can be displayed on a shelf or wall.

Frame Box Boxes are available in small ($17), medium ($19), and large ($21) as well as a display "frame" ($40) for displaying flattened boxes (see image at right). Quantity discounts are available. Joel can be contacted at joel@bradleysupplies.com. His website is http://www.bradleysupplies.com.

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Snack-Pack Trials: Kellogg's Cran-Vanilla Crunch
Tongue in Cheek by Topher
Kelloggs Crunch What's with these new snack-packs? This box of cereal contains 6 foil-wrapped snack-packs. The cereal clusters are really large. I tore open a pack and out dropped a solid bar of cereal into my bowl. I opened a second pack and another cereal brick dropped into my bowl. Here I've opened two snack packs, and I've only got two clusters to show for it. After pouring milk on it, the cereal clusters hide on the bottom of the bowl like a guppy in a cement overcoat. You can find them with your spoon, but they fall off pretty easily --- diving back into the milk with all the gracefulness of a Shamu belly flop. And the first 6 rows get just as wet! Kellogg's should really make these clusters smaller if they expect anyone to enjoy them. Then again, my son is still laughing at my wet shirt and shorts, and socks...

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Interview: Ten Questions with The Trix Rabbit
by Topher
Jungle RabbitAfter seeing the Capt'n Crunch interview in the Winter 2006 Issue of The Boxtop, we received a call from Trix Rabbit who wanted his story told.

Question #1: What's the appeal of Trix cereal?
Trix Rabbit: There is nothing more delicious than the flavors of raspberry red, lemon yellow, and orange orange. Those crunchy little puffed balls of corn are just awesome!
Question #2: You've been trying to get your hands on a bowl of Trix cereal since 1960. How's it going?
Trix Rabbit: I've gotten my hands on several bowls of cereal, and several boxes of cereal, only to be thwarted by a couple of kids who snatch it way before I've had a chance to eat it. Then they taunt me (whiney voice) "Trix are for kids! Trix are for kids!".
Question #3: But you have actually eaten Trix, haven't you?
Trix Rabbit: Yes, I ran a great campaign in 1976 and again in 1980. Both times, I won by a landslide. Folks voted to let me eat a bowl of Trix. I've been trying to get General Mills to hold another election. I've had two friggin' bowls of Trix in my lifetime. I want more.
Question #4: What's going to be your campaign slogan?
Trix Rabbit: I'll announce my slogan when they schedule the next election. My rally cry is "Let the Rabbit eat some * Trix!".
Question #5: Are you really a silly rabbit?
Trix Rabbit: Silly, as in "stupid", or "silly" as in "mentally unstable"? Lets just say that if those kids take my cereal away from me just one more time, I'm going to totally lose it! But, hey, I'm not bitter.
Question #6: You seem rather passive when they relieve you of your cereal. You don't exactly fight for it.
Trix Rabbit: What am I suppose to do? Terrorize the kids? Bite them on the ankle? My uncle tried that and he lost a foot! No, I'm just a friendly rabbit working for another chance at the cereal.
Question #7: Is there a love in your life?
Trix Rabbit: Trix!
Question #8: Do you have a female friend?
Trix Rabbit: Why didn't you say so? I've got hundreds of them. I'm the original Playboy. Where do you think Hef came up with the idea for his Playboy Bunnies? It wasn't Peter Cottontail!
Question #9: What do you think of the change in 1992 when puffed fruit-shaped pieces replaced the original puffed balls?
Trix Rabbit: I wouldn't know. Thanks for rubbing that old wound again. All I can say is that they look pretty. However, I've heard from some folks that they much prefer the original puffed balls that I crave so much.
Question #10: What's your favorite cereal?
Trix Rabbit: Is this a trick question?

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Cereal Reviews

General Mills "Neopets Islandberry Crunch"
by Barbara Ellis

General Mills Neopets Islandberry Crunch Neopets Islandberry Crunch is based upon the online virtual pet community game "Neopets". The character on the box is called "Kougra". He is a cougar/tiger mix. A free promo insert Neopets card is included in the box. The cereal itself is a pretty two-color raspberry-red and boysenberry-purple mix of sweetened corn puffs. It has a good berry flavor that is not too sweet. The corn puffs primarily float but will get a little soft before you reach the bottom of the bowl. The puffs will turn your milk pink and impart your milk with a bit of berry flavor and a not-so-enjoyable sweetness. I rate this cereal 7 Boxtops (Very Good! Recommend Purchase.)

Kellogg's "Special K Red Berries"
by Topher, Editor

Kelloggs Special K Red Berries Special K is one of Kellogg's best selling and most profitable line of cereals. Special K was first introduced in 1955 and Red Berries were added in 2001. The red berries are real dehydrated strawberries. It would be cool if they also added raspberries, which along with their strawberries, are two of the best dehydrated fruits found in Kellogg's cereals. If I could buy a box of "Kellogg's Strawberries" to add to other breakfast cereals, I would. Special K is a crunchy sweetened rice and wheat flake. When served with milk, the strawberries rehydrate nicely and provide a very nice flavor to the cereal. While I find it a little too sweet, it is not nearly as sweet as Post's cereal lineup. I rate this cereal 7 Boxtops (Very Good! Recommend Purchase.)

Kellogg's "Frosted Mini Wheats - Vanilla Creme"
by Topher, Editor

Kelloggs Frosted Mini Wheats - Vanilla Creme This cereal is in the category of: "just because you can, doesn't mean you should". The Frosted Mini Wheats line of cereals began at Kellogg's in 1970, but Shredded Wheat got its start when it was created in 1894 by the Cereal Machine Company. Kellogg's has produced a large variety of Mini Wheats cereals. This one should not have been boxed. Take your Frosted Bite-sized Mini Wheat (an 8 Boxtop cereal), and add a very heavy vanilla cream flavor (picture twisting open a handful of Oreo's and scraping the vanilla cream into your cereal bowl), and you've got a good idea what Frosted Mini Wheats - Vanilla Creme taste like. For a second opinion, I got my 18-year-old son, who has a voracious cereal appetite, to try them. He poured a bowlful of these, tried one, and dumped the bowl back into the box. I rate this cereal 0 Boxtops (Throw Away.)

Kellogg's "Frosted Mini-Wheats Strawberry Delight"
by Topher, Editor

Kelloggs Strawberry Mini Wheats This variety of Frosted Mini-Wheats was introduced in 2006. Upon opening the box, you are hit with a pleasant strawberries and cream aroma that conjures up a strawberry shortcake. These pink and white frosted mini-wheats, with dark red strawberry-flavored crystals inside, turn your milk a disconcerting Pepto-Bismol pink color. The artificial flavor is not strong, but it builds with every bite. The cream flavor, while not as strong as the Vanilla Creme variety, will haunt you all day long. It's also too bad they chose not to use their real dehydrated strawberries instead of the flavor crystals. I rate this cereal 3 Boxtops ("We Have A Spill On Aisle 4". You Can Do Better.)

Kellogg's "Corn Flakes"
by Topher, Editor

Kelloggs Corn Flakes Released in 1906 by W. H. Kellogg, this is the original corn flake cereal. The golden flakes of corn are nice and crispy --- but uneventful in today's cereal market. It's good if you are looking for a lightly sweetened cereal without frosting, raisins, marbits, or other obnoxious add-ins. It's also a good shelf ingredient for recipes, like providing a nice crust for oven-fried chicken, or Christmas Wreath Cookies. Recently, Kellogg's introduced a Mango Corn Flakes cereal in a foreign market. I'd like to try it, especially if they include real mangos. I rate this cereal 6 Boxtops (Middle Of The Road. You Could Do Worse.)

Kellogg's "Rice Krispies"
by Topher, Editor

Kelloggs Rice Krispies Rice Krispies have been around since 1928. This light Snap, Crackle and Pop breakfast made of crispy puffed rice floats in your bowl. It's nice if you're looking for a lighter breakfast. Like Corn Flakes, it is also a good shelf ingredient for making Rice Krispies Treats. The characters on the box are losing their friendly looks and taking on a more sinister appearance. I rate this cereal 6 Boxtops (Middle Of The Road. You Could Do Worse.)

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What's New In Cereal?
by Topher
Surprisingly, other than a couple of the cereals we are reviewing in this issue, we haven't heard or seen anything new in the world of cereal this past quarter. Either the manufacturers are getting lazy, gearing up for something big, or we've become disconnected. We'll see.
Send Us Your News
If you notice anything new in your supermarket cereal isle, or wish to report a new cereal development, please email us. We'll give you credit for your information, or keep it confidential, at your request. Thank you.

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The Boxtop is a non-commercial publication. It is not affiliated with or endorsed by any cereal or company. All of the names, characters, brands, and icons included here are trademarks of their respective parent companies and cannot be used for commercial purposes. Enjoy breakfast and support your favorite characters!
Opinions expressed are those of the writer, which like most things having to do with cereal may not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Editor, anyone else on the staff, or the world at large. A good sense of humor is appreciated.
Material in this publication may not be reproduced in any form without written permission from the Editor.
All information contained herein was obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but we cannot guarantee its accuracy or completeness.
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