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Monday, July 21, 2008

Monday Mug Shot

Welcome to The Chronicles of Nani 100th post on blogger! Boy it adds up fast, like watching a kitten grow!

I’d like to thank all of my regular visitors and everybody who has left a comment or sent me email. It’s your support and encouragement that keep me going!

Now the Mug Shot!

Cereal City USA
Battle Creek, Michigan

The first thing you’ve probably noticed is that today’s mug shot is NOT a mug! It is however my equivalent of a mug this time. They had mugs at Cereal City, but when I saw the cereal bowls, I knew this was a better mug than a mug for the main attraction at the breakfast cereal capital!

Cereal City USA opened in 1996 to replace the Kellogg’s Cereal Plant Tour. The first time I was there was a few years later. I remember walking in and feeling like I’d gone to advertising heaven! Everything was bright colors and all of the cereal mascots that had been icons in my world since I was a child. Remember, I was hat child that wanted o be Darrin Stephens when I grew up because he had such a great job. I always loved TV commercials. It wasn’t that they made me want the products, it was that I liked them as 30 seconds of television art. Cereal commercials were some of the best!

I had long gone on about some of my favorite commercial characters that had been ut on the unemployment line. Most notable of those were Tusk The Elephant, who represented Cocoa Krispies. I cited downsizing as the Kellogg Company's reason for laying him off. They still sold the product, just that now Snap, Crackle and Pop have the responsibility for Cocoa Krispies added to their workload. Just like corporate America, huh? Then there was also Milton the Toaster, who lived to toast Pop Tarts. I hadn’t seen that sweet talking toaster for years!

But Cereal City was a vault of old advertising and marketing! I go to see the wall papered with old cereal box wallpaper just outside the pseudo factory tour. There I saw Tony The Tiger as a child and the Monkey who retired, giving Tusk his big break. (Okay, but in all seriousness, the old boxes wallpaper was VERY cool to look at)

The replacement for the factory tour was a combination of replica machinery and video. It was pretty neat, quite informative, too! At the end of the “how to” presentation was a sampling spout where you could fill a cone with Corn Flakes to munch as you toured the rest of he building. I really don’t know if they had mini machinery that finished the baking process or if it was simply a heater container that held the self-serve flakes, but they were always warm and somehow tasted “fresher” than the Corn Flakes you get at the store!

There were also hands-on exhibits where you could learn about the three different ways cereal is made. It’s either cooked and rolled, like the Corn Flakes, exploded, puffed out like Rice Krispies, or made into a dough and extruded through a tube, like Froot Loops. There was also the chance that you’d bump into Tony The Tiger anywhere in the building and he was always up for a photo!

But my favorite place in the whole building were the commercial rooms! There was one theater that sowed continuous classic cereal commercials and if you craved more than they had on the loop there, the great room with the advertising and promotional products in the windows had viewing chars, where you could sit down and select more classic commercials to view privately.

I was always smiling and “buzzed” from the antique ads fix when I was there. The last stop on the way to the exit took you through the gift shop, of course, gotta love that marketing to the end approach! When you exited the gift shop, there were always single-serve boxes of the cereal of the day to take home for free! That’s where you came back into the current day with a free taste of the newest Kellogg’s products!

The saddest thing about this “mug” is that Cereal City closed its doors in early 2007. It was just after I moved out of Michigan, but I take no blame for it! Truthfully the mismarketed all the great marketing inside! The replacement for the Kellogg's factory tour was so NOT the Kellogg's Factory Tour. It would have been better packaged as an antique advertising museum.

I’m hungry for a bowl of cereal now. Think I’m going to put this “mug” to work!

1 comment:

carjazi said...

I remember going there for a field trip as a kid. You have a way of getting me back in time. :) Thanks for the link on your awesome layout. And thanks for visiting me again. Take care!