Cereal: Discontinued, Strange, and Awesome Brands & Boxes

If you were brought up eating a bowl of cereal every morning for breakfast, you know that the cereal you chose stuck with you. I couldn’t tell you what I used to eat for lunch or dinner, but I can give you a play by play of every cereal brand I consumed with any regularity in my childhood. Despite this fierce loyalty, many cereal brands are too closely tied to a specific celebrity, movie, or brand, or are just too odd, to remain in the big time. Here are some of the most interesting of these fallen cereal brands:

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Some of the most random characters make their way onto a breakfast box. Pulled out of popular television series’, or just out of a hope that their broader audience will result in a mad rush to grocery store shelves, the sheer number of oddball cereals makes one wonder how much profit they make from these endeavors.

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One sure way to get an instant audience is to appeal to one of the most popular hobbies in childhood: videogames. Since the cereal always seems to be the same, despite the videogame being promoted (except maybe coloration), there’s a reason these cereals don’t stick around for long.

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Showcasing classics like Star Trek and Star Wars are a surefire way to grab a large audience, but it’s hard to keep them eating. I’m unsure how adding an extra loop to your typical cheerio makes for an exciting new space themed cereal, but Kellogg’s certainly gave it a shot with C-3PO’s. Their commercial makes that loop out to be an epic innovation.

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Who can resist purchasing a cereal based on their favorite cartoon? If you throw in interesting cereal shops, even the most conservative and skeptical cereal buyers will be sold.

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It’s nice to see the creativity of cereal promotion has always been fairly strong, even if the cereal design all used to look the same. These retro ads would definitely appeal to kids, but I can’t help thinking the cereal looks incredibly bland. I suppose increasing amounts of sugar has become the norm in cereal innovation.

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Some cereal is just strange. Terrifying clowns, odd flavors that are distinctly unappetizing, or even make me cringe with an imagined sugar rush… these are not boxes I’d be bringing to the breakfast table.

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Movie tie-ins are still popular to cross promote a film and give the cereal company a quick burst of sales for an otherwise mundane cereal. All you have to do is take a normal bowl of cereal and adjust the shape to something tangentially related to the film, and you’ve got a horde of people willing to give it a shot for novelty’s sake. A lot of collectors jump on these boxes, knowing they won’t be around for long.

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There’s no denying that kids like strange. Whether it’s a cartoon, animated film, or silly fad (think pogs, or silly bands), they’re willing to stick it out with brands that most adults simply find odd. Children are fickle, however, and fads flash in and out of favor like lightning bolts.