Cereal box prize

From WikiMD's Wellness Encyclopedia

Cereal box prize, also known as a cereal box toy, is a form of advertising and marketing used by cereal manufacturers to promote their products and to encourage consumer loyalty. These prizes are small toys or games that are included inside a box of cereal. The concept of cereal box prizes has a long history, dating back to the early 20th century, and has evolved over the years from simple thimbles and stickers to digital codes for online games and experiences.

History[edit | edit source]

The tradition of including a prize inside cereal boxes began in the early 1900s. One of the first companies to adopt this practice was the Kellogg Company, which started placing wax paper drinking straws in boxes of Corn Flakes as early as 1909. This marketing strategy was aimed at encouraging children to persuade their parents to buy a particular brand of cereal. Over the decades, the nature of the prizes has evolved, reflecting changes in popular culture, technology, and safety regulations.

Types of Prizes[edit | edit source]

Cereal box prizes have varied widely over the years. Early prizes included simple toys, booklets, and collectibles such as baseball cards and comic books. In the 1970s and 1980s, popular prizes included small plastic toys, decoder rings, and flexi disc records that could be played on a turntable. With the advent of digital technology, recent prizes have included CD-ROMs, digital download codes, and access to exclusive online content.

Marketing Strategy[edit | edit source]

The inclusion of a prize in cereal boxes is a marketing strategy that targets children, encouraging them to choose one brand over another. This strategy also aims to increase brand loyalty by creating a sense of anticipation and excitement about what might be found inside the box. Additionally, cereal companies often tie their prizes to popular movies, television shows, or video games as a form of cross-promotion, further increasing the appeal of their products.

Controversy[edit | edit source]

The practice of including toys in cereal boxes has not been without controversy. Critics argue that it encourages unhealthy eating habits among children by making them more likely to choose sugary cereals over healthier options. There have also been concerns about the safety of the toys, particularly for young children who might be at risk of choking. In response, cereal companies have made efforts to include prizes that appeal to a wider age range and to ensure that the toys meet strict safety standards.

Current Trends[edit | edit source]

In recent years, there has been a shift away from physical toys towards digital rewards. This change reflects both a growing concern about the environmental impact of producing and disposing of small plastic toys and an acknowledgment of the increasing importance of digital technology in children's lives. Today, cereal box prizes often include codes for downloading games, accessing exclusive online content, or unlocking special features in popular apps.


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Contributors: Prab R. Tumpati, MD