Morning Funnies Cereal

Do you remember Morning Funnies Cereal?

In the late 1980s, Ralston came up with a brilliant idea. People love to read the funnies while eating their morning breakfast, so why not combine the two? To that end, they created the short-lived cereal, Morning Funnies Cereal. Now you could skip dragging in your morning newspaper and instead read your cereal box, which they covered in comic strips.

Why it was great


Morning Funnies Cereal, with its brightly colored box and familiar comic characters was instantly recognizable. You could spot this box from 20 feet away and you had to have it. At the time it was one of the more novel ideas in the cereal aisle and I couldn’t help but grab a box. You will hear a lot of people, when talking about Morning Funnies Cereal, complaining about the sweetness. Complaining that something is too sweet is something adults do. I refuse to evaluate this cereal as an adult. So I am putting that attribute squarely in the “plus” column.

Maybe the greatest things about the cereal? It was comic themed and included some of the most enduring characters from that milieu. Including, Dennis the Menace, Beetle Bailey, H├Ągar the Horrible, Hi and Lois, The Family Circus, Tiger, Luann, Marvin, Funky Winkerbean, and What a Guy! It was an amazing selection and many of them appearance in this television commercial.

So what went wrong


Morning Funnies Cereal was great, but the reviews for it were poor. As I stated above, adults did not appreciate the high levels of sugar. Although reading reviews from the time, I am surprised at how surprised people were back then. Did you really think a Fruit-flavored cereal with cartoon-shaped marshmallows was not going to be sugary? Perhaps this presented an issue for parents, which contributed to the poor sales of the cereal, but to me the problem was not the cereal itself, but the packaging.

They just couldn’t produce enough boxes to keep people entertained on a daily basis while they ate their morning cereal. Just how many times can you read the same Beetle Bailey? Unfortunately about once. Sure it was convenient to have them right on the box, but at the same table the was a copy of the daily paper with a brand new comic strip just itchin’ to be read. So in the end, the real undoing of Morning Funnies Cereal was the one element that made it truly unique. Ralston, and their mad cereal scientists, were just too ambitious and in the end, ’twas the packaging that killed the product.

Rice Krispies

Remember That Rolling Stones Rice Krispies Ad From 1963? Wait, What?!

Just the other day – although it’s been on the internet for quite some time it was pointed out that the Rolling Stones recorded the jingle for a 1963 television commercial for Rice Krispies. It’s been reported that Brian Jones was the band member responsible for writing the rather jaunty tune.

[Via] The Video BeatdotCom
I also found mention that the commercial itself which was done by the J. Walter Thompson advertising agency and was a spoof on the popular music show Juke Box Jury.
Juke Box Jury
The host of the program, David Jacobs, would ask the four celebrities of the week to judge newly released records. This was apparently inspired by a show from the US entitled Jukebox Jury. In this episode from the BBC series you can hear Roy Orbinson’s Blue Angel, Lloyd Price’s Just Call Me (And I’ll Understand), The Ted Taylor Four’s M1, Nat King Cole’s Just As Much As Ever, Connie Francis’ My Heart Has A Mind Of Its’ Own, and Paul Anka’s Summer’s Gone.

[Via] Phil Glew
It’s a pretty enjoyable show and I can see why it ran from 1959 until 1967 – earning 12 million viewers every Saturday Night by the time 1962 rolled around. There was an attempt at a revival in 1979 but that only lasted for one season.

RP2

Introducing Reese’s Pieces! Commercial 1979

Everyone knows what M&M’s are! Now imagine you’re crunching into another dull handful of M&M’s and you get a delicious mouthful of peanut butter! Yeah, that just happened! And it’s good…REALLY GOOD! When Reese’s Pieces hit the scene back in 1979, it turned the M&M’s eating world upside down, well…it did for me anyway. Scrumptious!

RP1

Enjoy the first commercial to feature the bite size bits of bliss! The reactions are real, at least they should be. Try and stop at just one handful, I dare ya! A few years before a little Extra Terrestrial dude fell in love with ’em…I fell in love with ’em!

bezos-taco-bell

Remember when Amazon’s Jeff Bezos appeared in a Taco Bell commercial

The world was an interesting place in the early 2000’s. Taco Bell had ended its very popular Taco Bell Chihuahua ads (RIP Gidget) and was looking for a fresh face to help sell its various incarnations of the exact same thing. One of their ideas that surprisingly did not catch on was using Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos as a spokesCEO. At this time this did not strike we as weird for some reason, but looking at it now it is a real head-scratcher.

The commercial opens in a boardroom, in what I assume are Amazon’s offices. A group of seemingly smart people are gathered around Mr. Bezos as he complains about having seen everything in the world of PDAs and Handhelds.

taco-bell-demo

But wait! Here is a handheld you have never had before Jeff. It is Taco Bell’s new Chicken Quesadilla. Being a good CEO, he demands a demo. So the person I assume is the director of cheesy deliciousness steps up to the plate and grabs a handful and takes a bite. She then spend the better part of 5 seconds wordlessly appreciating this scrumptious new food and everyone is very impressed.

taco-bell

I am not sure how/why they got Jeff in this ad, but it makes for a great snapshot of the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. It was a time before the dotcom bubble popped and CEOs of a company that wasn’t even associated with Taco Bell could be the star of their commercials.

McDonald's Trays - Happy Meals

Check Out These 1980s McDonald’s Happy Meal Trays!

Just the other day one of my co-workers and friends at the Arkadia Retrocade sent me a text with the image you see above attached.

As you can tell from the headline on this post these are vintage 1980s Happy Meal trays from McDonald’s. They were produced by Simon Marketing Inc. for the fast food chain but beyond that I have found very little information on these beauties.

I’m thinking they must be from around 1985 at least as the Hamburglar has already had made the switch to the more kid friendly-version of the hamburger thief. Long after he was introduced as the Lone Jogger!
Hamburglar - Happy Meals Tray

[Via] The Burger Nerd

Plus Captain Crook sadly was phased out around 1987 and this tray shows him in his original outfit although perhaps a little less sinister than his appearance in McDonaldland as a villain.
Captain Crook - Happy Meals Tray

1985 was around the last time we saw the likes of his honor, Mayor McCheese as well as the stalwart Officer Big Mac.
Mayor McCheese - Happy Meal Tray

Office Big Mac - Happy Meals Tray

Of course Grimace is always Grimace.
Grimace - Happy Meals Tray

Now I would love to crow and say that my friend picked these up for me…but that isn’t the case…at least I know they are in a good home, the only one that wasn’t available when she picked these up was the Ronald McDonald tray. I think eBay can take care of that though!
Ronald McDonald - Happy Meals Tray

What about you readers? Do you have any fond recollections of these Happy Meal trays?

Marshall Mallow

Marshal Mallow Cocoa Mix

Many weekends during my childhood were spent dragged from our home to our family cabin nestled in the Wallowa Mountains in Eastern Oregon. Many a morning I’d wake up and find a thin layer of ice had formed across the top of the water that filled the toilet in the bathroom. Folks, in the wintertime, that place was COLD! The large creek that flowed nearby would freeze completely! It was spectacular! Where am I going with this? Well, when we’d wake and rise from our toasty sleeping bags, my little body would hit that frigid air, I’d need to warm up…QUICK!

What better way to do that than with Marshall Mallow Cocoa Mix! You know what made it great? Marshmallows! Not just boring barrel shaped marshmallows, but little star shaped marshmallows! Not so amazing now a days, sure. But when you’re nine years old, this gimmick was pretty awesome! In every box of Marshall Mallow, they also included this sticker! The deal was sealed!

381861926_4e0c5d0655_b

So with that, I leave you with the fun little commercial that most likely started my need for little star shaped marshmallows in my cocoa.

superman-cocoa

Captain Cold vs. Superman and Superman Hot Cocoa Mix

I have always been more of a Marvel reader, but I am aware of the relative strengths of the various DC superheroes. Because of this, I have a hard time believing that Captain Cold would think that he could use any of his freeze weapons on him and think they would work. It just defies logic.

Superman dispatches cold with ease and then has these kids on his hands. So does he take them and fly rapidly to freedom? Does he use his heat vision to warm things up? No, he takes his time to serve two piping hot mugs of cocoa made from Superman Hot Cocoa. This bit of product placement is flagrant misuse of Superman’s power and comes across as low-class. Every superhero knows that first you rescue the kids and bring them straight home to their parents. Then you do a quick round of photo-ops and maybe sign some autographs. Only after that is done, do you get their address and promise to send over some special Superswag. Which is where you include the Super Cocoa and other co-branded products.

This was the 1980’s and they were a simpler time, but marketing departments existed back then. An icon like Superman could have really used some brand management. These type of incidents is exactly why Superman’s popularity has fluctuated so wildly in the last few decades. It is very difficult to take the person seriously when they are just going to peddle free samples of their product afterwards.