My brothers and I fought over who got the prize in our cereal box each week. With our corn flakes, we usually got one box of sweetened cereal a week, usually, Super Sugar Crisp, which had the best toys, including genuine Hot Wheels.
Later, the prize ended up on the box rather than in it, those cut-out cardboard records of The Archies that sounded like tin on my tiny record player that could not have thrilled us more.By the time my children became cereal eaters who fought over prizes, the quality of the toys had gone way down, plastic rather than metal, generic rather than celebrity.
As the Internet became popular, prizes became available online, with secret words children could enter on special web sites. Each box carried the warning to be sure to ask an adult before getting online.
Today, after several years away from eating cereal, I found myself staring at the back of a box of Frosted Flakes, with scenes from the new Spider-Man movie. The kiddies can redeem the secret codes for free movie tickets. There is no mention of asking mom and dad for permission, because there is no web address.
Here’s what it says:
“Listen to your Spidey senses and grab your smartphone.”
“Go to the App Store or Android Market on your smartphone.”
“Download the ‘Kellog’s’ amazing Spider-Man exclusive app.”
“Point your smartphone camera at the scene to the right for an exclusive clip from the Amazing Spider-Man!”
Our children aren’t the target market for sweet cereals. They were teenagers before they got cell phones, and they still don’t have smartphones. Can it be true that enough unsupervised and tech savvy 8-year-olds have smartphones that a national ad campaign that requires them can be successful?