Pirates of the Caribbean in the Cereal Aisle

Do you ever feel overwhelmed when you turn the corner to enter the cereal aisle?  How did we ever go from Corn Flakes and Quaker Oats to five thousand brands and flavors of cereal?  Realistically, they could all be whittled down to two categories:  1.) Vat of Sugar and 2.) Tree bark.  Adults have to pay for this food, yet we end up with kids on a sugar high while we scarf down the shavings of a dogwood. 

The fact that cereal was not in the Garden of Eden should be a major clue.  Adam and Eve were eating fresh fruit, not Fruit Loops.  We are talking about dead food in a box, but apparently it is the centerpiece aisle of the supermarket.

When you walk down the cereal aisle with children, it’s a bit like going for a ride at Disney World.  With all of the flashy colors and marketing, it’s a wonder the supermarkets don’t turn it into a Pirates of the Caribbean adventure.  You could get on a little boat and sail down a darkened aisle, while carousing pirates sing “Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life For Me)” and advertise the various cereals. In between bouts of pillaging, they could toss out samples. When you get to the end of the aisle, you could sail down a little waterfall and get off the ride.

I bet you thought supermarkets were all about food.  On the surface, yes, but when you delve into the heart of a supermarket chain, you will find that they have more tricks than the Trix Rabbit himself.  Starting with the prize inside the box.

Decades ago, the prize in a cereal box was a simple toy or a decoder ring.  The other day I noticed that the prize offered was a possible trip to Turks and Caicos.  One in a million people might actually get to go on this trip, but it must increase sales to at least offer the potential of a Caribbean cruise.  More incentive is needed because we all recognize that the older we get, the more our cereal starts to resemble rabbit pellets. Some poor guy who is freezing his tushie off in Vancouver will gladly buy the cereal for the chance to run his fingers through the hot sand.  Realistically, the only thing he will run his fingers through is his collection of decoder rings from the 1950s, while he throws another log on the fire and yearns for Frosted Flakes.

If the pattern holds, in ten years cereal boxes will include a sweepstakes drawing for a trip to the moon.   

The marketing plan seems devious, but it works.  How else are they going to sell the tree bark?   Part of the plan is to give the cereal a name that makes you think you are eating the most healthful foods on the planet, despite the artificial ingredients, sugar, and high fructose corn syrup.  Heart Healthy, Smart Morning, Natural Goodness. 

That’s because you would never buy the following cereals:

Death in a Box

Chemical Overload

Fructose Flakes

Sugar Valley

Unpronounceable Ingredients

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