Cereal, Promotional Gifts, And Life On The Internet

Trix Rabbit 2

Today, March 7, is National Cereal Day. This may seem like an odd thing to know, and indeed I’ve only known this to be the case for a couple of weeks. I was informed by a publicist for General Mills, the cereal conglomerate, and that’s why I am writing this today. A little while back, I wrote an article for Paste Magazine about 10 Discontinued Cereals That Should Return. It did pretty well. I enjoyed writing it. There are a lot of odd defunct cereal types out there. Urkel-Os and the like. It was a little frivolous, but it was fun to do. This article apparently drew the attention of a publicist, and she said that she could possibly send me a promotional package for National Cereal Day.

This intrigued me. I’ve been writing online professionally for years. I’ve been offered a ton of promotional material. Now, as a pop culture writer, it’s usually some bit of media. I’ve got so many DVDs that I received just for review purposes. Some of them have been pretty cool. Some of them have sucked. I was amused by the idea of getting a promotional package for National Cereal Day. Plus, I do genuinely enjoy cereal. I eat a couple bowls everyday. Would I be writing this article if not for the fact I had been given a big box of stuff? No. This is in many ways a business transaction. I was given some stuff, and I would have felt bad if I hadn’t written about cereal and the promo package I received. Maybe they didn’t want something this transparent. You know, showing people the gears within the machine. However, what else was I to do? Just write about cereal randomly? I am writing about cereal, and in particular General Mills cereal, because that’s how business works. That’s how being a professional freelance writer works.

I received the box, and it looked like this:


Only it wasn’t sideways like that. I have no idea what happened. When I put the picture into this publishing tool, it turned sideways. I am sorry about that.

I opened the box, and I found a few boxes of cereal: Honey Nut Cheerios, Lucky Charms, and Cinnamon Toast Crunch. I also was given a t-shirt and a big ol’ cereal bowl. Here are some more photos:





Who can say no to a free t-shirt, and it’s actually a pretty decent shirt. Those cereal mascot logos are cool in their old-school style. I will probably use the bowl as well. They had sent me a note in the box, which also said I was supposed to get some Rice Chex in the box. I noted to the publicist woman that had not happened, and she said she’d send me a few boxes of Chex, which is quite generous. I know that it means nothing to General Mills. They make the cereal, so the only cost to them is production, and they are a massive company. Still, they didn’t have to do that, and they did, which is still nice. I enjoy Chex cereal.

While I eat cereal everyday, I am an adult, so I eat healthy cereal. Primarily, I eat Cheerios, but occasionally I’ll eat a Special K or something like that. Now, Honey Nut Cheerios is something I’ve eaten as an adult. It’s the best cereal, probably. It’s delicious. Regular Cheerios is also really good, but that bit of honey makes it that much better. However, it’s a little pricier than Cheerios, and also they are a bit sweet. I try to avoid eating that much sugar. I enjoyed eating this box of Honey Nut Cheerios. It is the cereal with the best aftertaste. The worst? Corn Flakes. Lucky Charms and Cinnamon Toast Crunch, though, are two cereals I had not eaten in years. Maybe 15 years even.

Lucky Charms straight up has marshmallows in it. That’s not my thing. I also question the validity of the “lucky” status of some of the marshmallow objects. Why is there a red balloon in Lucky Charms? The more “cereal-y” pieces of Lucky Charms are good. I assume they are an oat or something. I could just look at the box, but I am being lazy. If Lucky Charms was just the cereal pieces, I could definitely see myself eating it more often. However, again, there are marshmallows in it. Little token of pure sugar essentially. They have a springy texture to them, presumably so they don’t dissolve in milk. The taste of the marshmallows were reminding me of something, until it dawns on me the flavor I was being reminded of was marshmallow. It had been a while since I had eaten mallow from a marsh.

Cinnamon Toast Crunch isn’t as sweet as you might think. The pieces are dusted in Cinnamon, giving the cereal some grittiness. Of course, that grittiness is lost in milk. The cinnamon washes off and then the milk tastes like cinnamon. This is a positive. On the other hand, few cereals get soggy in milk as quickly as Cinnamon Toast Crunch. It’s a better cereal to eat as a dry snack. Just pour some in a bowl and eat it with a spoon dry. It’s quite tasty that way.

I was also sent a link to some photos of General Mills mascots throughout the years. You know, the evolution of Lucky the Leprechaun and the Honey Nuts Cheerios Bee and such. Remember when that bee chilled with Nelly? We used to make things in this country. That’s a joke structure I use a lot. Those logos have definitely evolved well over the years. The logos for Trix and Cocoa Puffs, the Trix Rabbit and Sonny, also appeared. I wouldn’t have minded a box of Trix, even if they are for kids, but I am glad that I wasn’t sent any Cocoa Puffs, because I do not like chocolate. As a kid, though, I liked Cocoa Puffs quite a bit.

So, in short, General Mills offered to send me some cereal and some promotional materials to try and get me to write about cereal, and in particular to write about General Mills. I liked the idea of getting some free cereal, so I agreed to do it, and that’s why this piece exists. Everybody goes home happy. Although, to be honest, I don’t know what General Mills had to gain from this. Even if I had managed to get one of the websites I write for to agree to a National Cereal Day article, what sort of exposure would they have gotten really? Who hasn’t heard of Lucky Charms and Honey Nut Cheerios and so on? So maybe in the end I’m the winner, because massive companies can throw around money and trinkets so easily that I can get some stuff and they don’t even blink. I am utterly insignificant in the grand scheme of General Mills’ plans, but I still got a free t-shirt.

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