Unsuccessful Breakfast Cereals
By Dale Dobson, www.daledobson.com
"You can't drink Vodka for breakfast, but you can eat Vodka Crisp!" High alcohol content didn't usually survive the trip from the plant in Russia, and the manufacturer quickly evaporated as well.
This short-lived precursor to Kellogg's popular "Special K" tasted like cardboard and absorbed milk with incredible speed, leaving barely a trace of moisture. A biodegradable, artificially sweetened polyvinyl cellulose laminate compound was added and the name changed to reflect the new formula before its national rollout.
This attempt to reposition Post's "Grape Nuts" cereal for the kiddie market added an appealingly comical gorilla character to the marketing, but erred badly in the name department, creating unintended peals of naughty laughter in schoolyards across America.
Fire and Ice
Quaker introduced this innovative cereal, which could be eaten hot or cold. Mushy and difficult to keep in the mouth when hot, dusty and unnervingly crunchy when eaten cold, it never found its niche.
Marketed as "the FUN!damentally Christian breakfast cereal," its crude, haranguing advertisements led children to believe that God would hate them and Jesus would spank them if they didn't eat it every morning. Retailers revolted when thousands of crying children made shopping a nightmare for everyone in their stores, dropping the product within 24 hours of its release.
"No shit, dude! No milk required! No expiration date!" No sales.
Little Roquefort's Yum Yums
An early experiment in cartoon character licensing, this sugar-and-corn flour cereal featured an obscure Terrytoons mouse character on its packaging when it was released in 1957. Unfortunately, a quality control oversight led to a highly visible recall when rodent droppings turned up in one production lot, and the product was hastily abandoned. It later resurfaced as "Quisp," without the rodent droppings and without Little Roquefort, who by then had faded into complete obscurity.
Post's Monster Cereals line attempted to cater to Jewish families with this new character, companion to Count Chocula and other favorites. But non-kosher production lines doomed it from the start, and gentiles proved unfamiliar with this legendary creature.
Eat This, You Sniveling Worm!
This sharp-edged, painfully crunchy yellow cereal inflicted significant damage to the roof of the mouth when eaten, and was aimed at then-closeted S&M/bondage aficionados with little success. Several years later, new marketing featuring a jovial, mustachioed pirate character made it a children's favorite.
A heroin-laced cereal that received scanty underground distribution in the Haight-Ashbury district during the 1960's and never saw national promotion or release following the arrest and conviction of its manufacturers. Noteworthy mostly for its underground comix-inspired mascot character, "Freewheelin' Flakey."
A small, rurally-based farmer's cooperative introduced this cereal aimed at the urban African-American market in the 1970's. Disaster was thought to be averted when the name was changed from its original moniker, "Negr-Os," and product artwork featuring slices of watermelon was replaced with a more mainstream arrangement of cereal and strawberries. But the company's continued use of 1920's-era black caricatures and minstrel stereotypes on the packaging sent this product straight to the Big Lots discount bin.
Oops! All Burnt Fragments
Quaker's popular Cap'n Crunch "limited edition" series allowed one mistake too many, releasing boxes full of tiny black carbonized bits of burned cereal that nobody wanted.
Even the cherubic Mikey didn't like this insurance-themed cereal. Kids soon tired of the endless fine print on the packaging, and a "free air travel voucher in every box" promotion proved ineffective.
Post ignores its own history, and is doomed to repeat it.
Flaky blend of wheat, whey, and eggs failed to distinguish itself in the North American market, but did find success in several South American countries, where as "Nature's Huevos" it acquired a carefully nurtured reputation as an aphrodisiac. When governmental advertising regulation reforms forced General Mills to stop running its highly suggestive ads, most "hueveros" saw this simply as further evidence of its potency, and its place on store shelves was assured.
This organic, all-natural cereal was marketed as a nutritious, high-energy morning boost for busy white-collar workers, but surveys indicated most consumers thought it was a laxative.
A misprint on a huge shipment of "Raisin Bran" boxes encouraged Kellogg's to produce this Amish-oriented variation. Raisins, alfalfa and hay were blended to produce a distinctively "farmy" taste with high fiber content, and packaging featured inspirational images of furniture-making, crop-tending, and barn-raising. Unfortunately, few in the target audience were reachable by Kellogg's TV, print and radio advertising campaign, and the product quickly sank without a trace.
reads since 10/07/2005