Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Playing Cereal Games

Cartoons were more than just something on TV. They were something that were part of your part your play-time, too. Especially in 1961.

Those wily folks at Kellogg’s used their sponsorship of the Hanna-Barbera cartoons to get people to buy cereal. And, as an extra incentive, they put contests and games on the back of cereal boxes. In June 1961, they were offering a decoder. See how cleverly it tied in to Huck’s TV show? And in May, there were flip-up cards. (click on the picture to make it larger)

But more involved than all this was a contest where Kellogg’s crunchers could mail in an entry for a contest to help Yogi Bear. Once winners were picked, and of course there was more than one “first prize winner,” news releases were sent their hometown newspapers for added Kellogg’s publicity. Young kids winning contests! A good news story! You’ve got to admire the promotional acumen of the folks at Leo Burnett advertising.

The local paper in Elyria, Ohio gave its readers this tidbit on May 10, 1961:

Janet’s Yogi Plan Better Than Most
Better than the average-type contestant!
That’s eight-year-old Janet Brownstein, 320 Denison Ave., who has saved TV star Yogi Bear from a dilemma on the back of a Kellogg’s cereal package.
Janet, a third grader at McKinley School, was a national first prize winner in the cereal manufacturer’s “Rescue Yogi: contest, in which children of the nation were asked to devise a means of rescuing the “Jellystone Park” bruin from a dangerous situation.
For her winning solution, Janet will receive an 18-inch stuffed toy, made in the image of the popular porkpie-wearing bear. She was notified by letter from the Battle Creek, Mich., company.
Janet is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Brownstein.

This is probably the same kind of letter that young Janet Brownstein got:

Pennsylvania’s New Castle News of June 7, 1961 had this announcement.

ELLWOOD CITY — Seven-year-old local boy rescued Yogi Bear.
Yogi Bear was being chased by a swarm of bees and John Kimmel Jr. from here rescued him.
His reward—an 18-inch Huckleberry Hound plush toy.
John, who will be a third grader at North Side School when it opens again next fall, pulled a neat trick in bringing the rescue about.
“Huckleberry Hound tripped Yogi Bear with a net and the hive of honey he was holding went out of his hands and the bees went after it.”
That’s what saved Yogi Bear from the bees in the jingle written by John which won first place in a national “Rescue Yogi Bear contest.”
It was the first time he ever entered a contest. John is the son of Mr. and Mrs. John Kimmel Sr., 628 Wampum Ave.

What may have been the coolest Yogi cereal stuff came a few years later. Judging by the drawing, this looks like when the Batman TV show was in its prime in 1966. Yes, it’s Yogi Bear and Batman! Kind of. And for only sixty cents.

After the “rescue” contest, Yogi’s promotional people didn’t take any time off. They got together something to plug his birthday in the fall (tying it in with a cartoon special). More on that in a future post.

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