The Boxtop - Cereal Netletter
Volume 8, Number 1 Winter 2006

Welcome to "The Boxtop", your cereal netletter. Grab your favorite box of cereal and pour yourself a bowl. Entire page will load long before your cereal turns soggy. Select a topic from among the links on the Side Panel or jump right into one of our feature articles. Just add milk and enjoy!

We'd like to offer you a Free Subscription to get e-mail notices of each new issue.
Your comments and suggestions are encouraged.

Side Panel

Monthly Ingredients
Cereal Review
Feature Articles
What's New in Cereal?

Perpetually Updated
Cereal Ratings
Cereal Ideas
Letters to the Editor

Meet the Staff
Topher Ellis, Editor

Back Issues
Complete Index

Favorite Cereal Links

Free Subscription

Stuck in a Frame?
Click to Break Free

Privacy Policy
And Ethics Code

And Other Legal Stuff



Back To The Top
Winter 2006 Index

Lesser Known Character Profile: Outrigger Canoe Boy and Girl
To Learn About Marketing, Spend A Week In The Cereal Aisle
Interview: Ten Questions with Cap'n Horatio Crunch
Seen A Fictional Cereal Recently?
Cereal Review - Kellogg's Eggo Cereal
Cereal Review - Post Honey Bunches of Oats with Peaches
Cereal Review - General Mills Kix
Favorite Cereals of the Stars
What's New in Cereal?
  • Kellogg's Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Kellogg's Ice Age 2 The Meltdown
  • General Mills Neopets Islandberry Crunch
  • Quaker Oats' Cap'n Crunch Chocolaty Peanut Butter Crunch
  • Internet Coupons: Cents-off on Boxes of General Mills Cereals
  • Do You Have A Great Cereal Story?
Send Us Your News

Important Subscriber Notice
Our hard drive crashed and burned on June 13, 2005 resulting in the loss of our entire subscriber file.
If you subscribed prior to June 2005, please accept our apologies and subscribe again. Thank you.

Lesser Known Character Profile: Outrigger Canoe Boy and Girl
by Topher
Canoe Boy and GirlAccording to Kellogg's, Puffa Puffa Rice was a product from 1967 to 1975.

In 1969 and 1970, boxes of Puffa Puffa Rice featured a young boy and girl wearing colorful swimsuits and rowing an outrigger canoe.

One TV ad had a Polynesian-island theme. In it, islanders are sacrificing a bushel of brown cane sugar and a bushel of rice into the steaming mouth of an active volcano under orders from a King or High Chieftain. Puffa Puffa Rice The volcano blows its top and Puffa Puffa Rice explodes forth. Song Chant: "Enua, Enowa, a Kellogg's a brings a you (BOOM) uh a new kind of breakfast cereal. Uh and puff and a toasted nice. Here comes Kellogg's Puffa Puffa Rice. Yummy, yummy. A takataka bowl full. Uh. You ketchum --- a big, big flavor. Oceans of en-er-gy." DaKine Chief or King: "Newy, newy, Puffa Puffa Rice. Early puffs of rice toasted crisp and tender sweetened island way with brown sugar, cane sugar. In each spoonful important nourishment of iron, niacin, and thiamine". [A few more "Hawaiian" words] Song: "Ocean's of en-er-gy". Deep voiceover: "Here comes Kellogg's Puffa Puffa Rice." Chant: "Eha, eha". Although it might be a bit of an embarrassment, it's a fun, visually appealing ad with lots of action.

Back To The Top

To Learn About Marketing, Spend A Week In The Cereal Aisle
by Alan Snedeker
If you ever had a notion to understand the creative side of marketing you could actually get a good taste of it by spending the week in the cereal aisle of your local supermarket writing down, comparing, and studying everything you can find on the cereal boxes.

No other aisle in the supermarket presents such a diversity of marketing information in one place. Some cereals appeal to the constipated; some to the diet conscious. There are all-family cereals and kid cereals, short-lived promotional cereals and cereal brands that are decades old and part of our heritage. And there are brand new brands that reflect the latest trends in healthy eating. And the flavors, colors, and shapes of cereals are almost infinite. Reflected on cereal boxes are advertising and marketing strategies, promotion tactics, pricing strategies, attitudes towards the consumer, product benefits, emotional benefits, and more. You’ll find dozens and dozens of ways to promote products.

Look at the premiums offered. Form some judgments. Does it make sense to offer a can opener when the brand is in a cardboard box? Does the premium have anything to do with the cereal or the brand's presenter, like Tony the Tiger? Is the brand or presenter's name imprinted on the premium? Does the premium help the consumer use the cereal? For example, a special cookie cutter could be offered in the shape of the cereal character. It's even better if the cereal can go into the cookies. The cereal aisle is a 60 foot long marketing textbook without pages.

Look at the cereal name. Does the name have anything to do with the cereal itself, or the character/presenter? Cocoa Puffs are chocolate cereal puffs. So the name describes the cereal. Lucky Charms is a cereal with shapes that are supposed to be lucky. (At least that was the original idea). Total and Special K infer higher nutrition. Cap'n Crunch was one of the first cereals marketed where the name of the cereal was the name of the presenter. So the recall of the cereal, after a kid had seen a commercial, was linear, in a circular way. If you remembered the name of the cereal you remembered the name of the presenter; if you remembered the name of the presenter you remembered the name of the cereal. In either case a kid could tell mom what to get.

Are there any packages that stand out. Why? Any holograms or free DVD’s or CDs attached to the package. Look at the side panels. What are the most nutritional cereals? Do the companies do a good job selling their products’ differences? Look for things you don’t like. Sometimes common sense alludes the most intelligent marketers. But these are exceptions.

Few people in the advertising business realize that those advertising campaigns that we enjoy as adults reflect the techniques most frequently used in kid cereal advertising. Children's commercials are fun, playful, imaginative and often silly. They are stories. They are seldom serious and some are simply charming. Most adult advertising tends to concentrate on logic, explaining why a product is good for consumers. That's OK, but when we mix elements of fun and charm together with logic we get advertising that mimics most kid cereal advertising. And like Mikey, we like it. And all that advertising pays out in one great place of learning. The cereal aisle.

Editors Note: Alan Snedeker, President and Creative Director of the Snedeker Group Inc., has been a creative consultant since 1985 following a 20 year career at Dancer Fitzgerald Sample in New York as a VP Creative Group Head. This article is an except from the lengthy and provocative foreword in "Milking That Crazy Cow - A Century of Cereals". Alan Snedeker's forthcoming book is entitled "The Marketing Matrixxx ©".

Back To The Top
Interview: Ten Questions with Cap'n Horatio Crunch
by Topher
Cap'n Crunch Cap'n Crunch is very busy these days as the spokescharacter for the largest surviving line of boxed ready-to-eat breakfast cereals from the once proud lineup at Quaker Oats. We caught up with the Cap'n when his ship The Guppy docked recently at Cape Fear, NC.

Question #1: Cap'n, can you tell us about your youth?
Cap'n Crunch: I was born on Crunch Island in 1963. Outside of that, I don't remember very much --- I was so young back then.
Question #2: That would make you 43 this year, but you don't look much older than when you were born. What's your secret?
Cap'n Crunch: It helps that I looked 65 when I was born.
Question #3: Any chance you'll ever accept a promotion to Admiral?
Cap'n Crunch: I tried that once! But I quickly became bored with my desk job at Crunch Headquarters. And after a small mishap with the Crunch Berrie and Crunch Biscuit machine (at the hands of two recently promoted new co-Captains) I decided I was truly the best one suited for the role as the Cap'n. I requested my old job back and am much happier now.
Question #4: Who was your toughest adversary?
Cap'n Crunch: Jean LaFoote, the Barefoot Pirate, was the most tenacious. I haven't seen him since 1973. More recently, the Soggies in the 1980's, and the Crunchium Thieves in l999 were tough too, but we defeated (sorry Jean) them all.
Question #5: Are you and Magnolia Bulkhead still an item?
Cap'n Crunch: That old sea tart? Heaven's no! Maggie had evil intentions --- she wanted to marry me! But I much prefer being a bachelor.
Question #6: I see you are the only spokescharacter for the entire line of Cap'n Crunch cereals, even replacing Smedley the Elephant from Peanut Butter Cap'n Crunch, Chockle the Blob from Choco Crunch, and Crunchberry Beast from Cap'n Crunch Crunchberries. What happened?
Cap'n Crunch: Well, shortly after PepsiCo bought Quaker Oats, some bright mind noticed my name on all the boxes. He figured if I'm already on the box, why bother with those other characters. The folks at PepsiCo returned these characters back to their roots: the Crunchberry Beast was released on Crunch Island, but later shot by a developer; Chockle shape-shifted into a blob of cookie dough and was inadvertently loaded into the cereal machinery and cooked into 800 boxes of cereal. Sorry kids!; and Smedley was released into the wilds of Africa where he was promptly dusted by poachers. But let's not dwell on the past.
Question #7: You disappeared in 1985. Upon your return you looked different. Thomas Bluefeather, the noted Conspiracy Theorist, says the original Cap'n Crunch was kidnapped and replaced with an imposter. Are you that imposter?
Cap'n Crunch: No. I'm not that imposter. No.
Question #8: Did you ever play any practical jokes?
Cap'n Crunch: (Laughs) Yes. When we got tired of eating the same old thing, the crew and I used to swap boxes of Cap'n Crunch for other boxes of cereal like Lucky Charms. I'd pull erasers off #2 pencils and toss them into the cereal box. You couldn't tell the pink erasers from the other marshmallows. What a hoot!
Question #9: What's your favorite cereal?
Cap'n Crunch: Grape-Nuts. My cereal might tear the roof out of your mouth, but nobody makes a crunchier cereal than Grape-Nuts --- they're as hard as rocks!
Question #10: Have you ever considered using milk?
Cap'n Crunch: For what?

Cap'n Crunch image is courtesy of Captain Toy, an incredibly cool source of comprehensive action figure reviews.

Back To The Top

Seen A Fictional Cereal Recently?
by Topher
Fictional cereals are made-up, non-existent, products. They can be seen in comic strips, movies, television shows, tv advertising, and heard on the radio. Why use a fictional cereal when there are real cereals? Three reasons: 1. a real cereal has not paid for a product placement; 2. a real cereal manufacturer may not want its product to appear in certain shows featuring controversial content; and 3. the script writers enjoy showing off their creativity.

Topher's Breakfast Cereal Character Guide has been collecting fictional cereals since 1997. They now have over 150 cereals presented on seven web pages. Everything from Preemo's Powdered Toast (featuring Powdered Toast Man from Ren & Stimpy) to Sugar Poppin' Loud-eez (from Moral Orel).

Sugar BombsComic Strips famous for their fictional cereals include Calvin & Hobbs (Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs "tasty, lip-smacking, crunchy-on-the-outside, chewy-on-the-inside, and they don't have a single natural ingredient or essential vitamin to get in the way of that rich, fudgy taste"), Foxtrot (Cap'n Sucrose, among numerous others), Peanuts (Snicker Snax), and Ziggy (Cheap Plastic Toy).

Movies with fictional cereals include Toy Story 2 (Cowboy Crunchies), Turbo Man (TurboMan Cereal), Muppets From Space (Kap'n Alphabet), Spy Kids (Floops), Lilo Stitch (Hula Pops!), Oh, God! (Whole Wheat, Bran, and Crispy Corn Flakes), House of 1000 Corpses (Agatha Crispies), Minority Report (Pine Oats), Cujo (BigFatCompany Red Razberry Zinger Cereal), Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge (Fu Man Chews), and Spaceballs (Spaceballs the Cereal).

Animated TV shows feature a full line of cereals: Ren & Stimpy Show (Preemo's Powdered Toast, Logs Cereal), The Tick (Karma Tornado Tick Flakes), The Simpson's (Frosting Gobs, Jackie O's, Aerosmith Sweet Emotions, Good Old Oats, and a line of Krusty the Clown cereals --- Krusty Brand Cereal with FREE Flesh Eating Bacteria inside every box; Krusty-Os with a FREE jagged metal Krusty-O in every box; and Chocolate Frosted Frosty Krusty Flakes "only sugar has more sugar"), Futurama (Admiral Crunch, Archduke Chocula), Invader Zim (Breakfast Chunk, KRIXPY, and "Poop" Brand Cereal), The Jetsons (Moonies), and Dilbert (NASA Cereal Sticks).

Sugar BombsTelevision Situation Comedies (sitcoms) are filled with fictional cereals: The Honeymooners (Flakey Wackey), Married with Children (Coco Lumps, and Nothin' But Sugar "Now With Ritalin!"), Saturday Night Live! (Colon Blow, Quarry, Little Chocolate Donuts, Cracklin' Oat Flakes---with Xtasy!), Bob Newhart Show (Honey-Coated Sugar Treats, Musical Munchies, and Fruit Flakes), Sixty Minutes to Kill (Sweet Stakes "Add milk and fruit and you've got all the nutrition of... milk and fruit"), Green Acres (Crickly Wicklies), The Hitch-Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy (Starbix "Nasty but nutritious"), The Amanda Show (Mammal O's "free live animal inside!") and Two and a Half Men (Maple Loops).

Radio Shows with fictional cereal include: Bob Ray (Mushies "the great new cereal that gets soggy even without milk or cream"), and Prarie Home Companion (Mournful Oatmeal "The cereal that works from within you to bring out your innate powers of resignation. Wherever you go, there you are", and Narco Bran Flakes "It contains a powerful muscle relaxant. Suddenly I feel, really, really, good").

Advertisements which feature fictional cereals: Gateway Computer (TurboMan Cereal), General Mills Cinnamon Toast Crunch (Health Pellets), DayQuil (Krispy Toads), Arby's (Fruit Poofs), Post Pebbles (Cocoa Rockies), Dell (Raisin Wheats), Swiffer (Rainbow Rings), and Geico (Krazy Crisps).

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Check out the fictional cereal pages and let us know if you see any other fictional cereals. If you can capture a screen shot, all the better!

Back To The Top
Cereal Reviews
by Topher, Editor

Kellogg's "Eggo Cereal"

Eggo CerealThis is one of the first cereals to come along in a long time that got it right. The cereal does look and taste similar to Eggo waffles. The cereal can best be described as "little Eggo waffles" or "big buttons with too many holes" depending upon your perspective. When you first open the box, you will be hit by an incredible maple syrup plume. You can't help but to be impressed by it. Out of the box, the waffles are very crispy and indeed have a heavy maple syrup flavor. By the spoonful, with milk, they taste pretty sweet. It stays crunchy in milk for quite some time. However, if you do allow the cereal to soften a little, it will take on a more realistic Eggo texture. Milk does not turn color but will pick up a trace of maple flavor.
I give Eggo's Cereal a split rating of 8 Boxtops (Very Good! Recommend Purchase) due to it's outstanding ability to mimic syrup-laden Eggo's, and 2 Boxtops (Why Bother. Leave It On Your Grocer's Shelf) because I wouldn't buy a second box. However, I do highly recommend you buy one box to enjoy.

Post "Honey Bunches of Oats with Peaches"
Honey Bunches of Oats with PeachesThe "Honey Bunches of Oats" line of cereals began in 1989 and by 2001 had captured 2-percent of the ready-to-eat cereal market. I think it's really cool to get fruits like peaches and berries in my cereal bowl. Honey Bunches of Oats with Peaches is full of corn flakes, wheat flakes, rolled oats, and big chunks of dehydrated peaches. There are also flakes impregnated with peach juice which gives the cereal its peach flavor. The cereal, like most of Post's lineup, is very sweet. It might have something to do with the sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, honey, high fructose corn syrup, and the malted corn & barley syrup used in its preparation. (Had they used but one sweetener, I'll bet it would have been the number one ingredient). The flakes are nice and crispy, but one of them gets mushy pretty fast. It's too bad the peaches take longer to hydrate. Part of the problem is that they float on top of your milk. They taste good once they are fully reconstituted.
While the peaches and peach flavor are nice, the ingredients do not get along, and the taste is too sweet. If you want peaches or other fruit in your cereal box, without the heavy sweeteners, pick up any of the Kellogg's Fruit Harvest line of cereals (except Strawberry-Blueberry). I rate Honey Bunches of Oats with Peaches at 4 Boxtops (We Have A Spill On Aisle 4". You Can Do Better.)

General Mills "Kix"
KixKix, which got it's start in 1937 as "Corn Kix", was the first puffed corn cereal. The fact that it is celebrating its 70th Anniversary next year is testament to its popularity. I've been using Kix for years in a Chex Mix party-snack recipe (also known as Crispix Mix or "Chicken Feed"), but I hadn't eaten a bowlful in years. This "Kid-Tested, Mother-Approved" cereal is crispy, floats on top of your milk, and is pretty darn bland. The whole grain cornmeal puffed balls are about the size of a large pea and are pleasing to crunch. However, I found them pretty boring. The back panel of the cereal box extols the use of the cereal as a finger food for young kids --- sort of an alternative to Cheerios which is a favorite food of many a toddler. I can see Kix fitting that role. For adults, I rate Kix at 5 Boxtops (Middle Of The Road. You Could Do Worse.)

Back To The Top
Favorite Cereals of the Stars
by Topher

On their November 30, 2005 broadcast, the "Bob & Tom Show" crew told radio listeners of their favorite cereals. Bob Kevoian likes Life, Tom Griswold prefers Crispix, Chick McGee eats Cap'n Crunch, Kristi Lee likes a Flaxseed with Pumpkin cereal, and Floyd the Trucker eats Count Chocula.

Back To The Top
What's New In Cereal?
by Topher

Ice Age 2 cerealKellogg's Ice Age 2 The Meltdown
Scrat, an acorn-loving saber-toothed squirrel, appears on boxes of Ice Age 2 The Meltdown holding a bowl of frosted oat ice cube-shaped cereal with acorn-shaped marshmallows. The cereal is a special edition released in connection with the early 2006 movie by the same name.

Pirates of the Caribbean cerealKellogg's Pirates of the Caribbean
Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) appeared on boxes of Pirates of the Caribbean cereal in early 2006. This was well after the 2003 movie release of Disney's "Pirates of the Caribbean - Curse of the Black Pearl", but before the July 2006 sequel "Pirates of the Caribbean - Dead Man's Chest". The cereal is self-described as "naturally sweetened chocolate pearl-shaped cereal with pirate-shaped marshmallows" --- basically cornmeal Cocoa Puffs with marbits in the shape of a dagger, treasure map, ships wheel, captain's hat, and a compass that doesn't point North. Arrr!

General Mills Neopets Islandberry CrunchGeneral Mills Neopets Islandberry Crunch
Neopets, the online virtual pet community game popular with children, was recently released as a cereal with Kougra (a cougar/tiger mix) on the box. The cereal is basically berry-flavored Trix balls in 2 colors.

Quaker Oats' Cap'n Crunch Chocolaty Peanut Butter Crunch
Cap'n Crunch has just released a new Chocolaty Peanut Butter Crunch cereal. It's a combination of Peanut Butter Crunch with the old Choco Crunch. It's very similar looking to Big G's Reese's Puffs, only the Captain's balls are bigger.
Internet Coupons: Cents-off on Boxes of General Mills Cereals
At the "Box Tops for Education" website, you'll find the following coupons which can be printed on your computer's printer and redeemed at your favorite grocery store: 75-cents off Neopets, 75-cents off French Toast Crunch, 75-cents off Berry Lucky Charms, 50-cents off Total, $1.00-off on two boxes of Cheerios, and $1.00 off on two of your choice of four listed General Mills cereals.
Do You Have A Great Cereal Story?
We're looking for your interesting or humorous experiences with cereal. Do you have any great stories of the good old days when you were a kid, or humorous cereal stories having to do with your own kids? Send us your short stories. We'll print our favorites in The Boxtop. (No, you don't get paid, but you do get bragging rights).

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.

Back To The Top

E-Mail the Editor
We appreciate any comments you may have.
© 2006 Boxtop Editor
All rights reserved.

(Make a donation).

Disclaimers and Other Legal Stuff
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.
"The Boxtop", "Crunchy Nuggets for the Cerealist", "Cerealist", "Cereal Netletter", "Topher's Castle", "Topher's Castle - A Great Site for Everyone", "Topher's Breakfast Cereal Character Guide", "Breakfast Cereal Character Guide", and "Cereal Character Guide" as well as our masthead graphics are all trademarks of Topher.

Back To The Top

Welcome to Topher's Castle - A Great Site for Everyone!