The Post Cereal you won’t find on your supermarket shelves.

In the late 1970s, the folks at General Foods wanted to test a new Post cereal. They came up with mini-waffle shape with lots of crunch and a sweet maple flavor. The creative group in the Los Angeles office of Ogilvy and Mather was given the assignment to come up with a name, packaging, ideas for print and television ads.

Hundreds of names were considered, some centering on the waffle shape, others on the maple flavor, (one even borrowed a name from another General Food product – Log Cabin Syrup – but the product managers didn’t want to soil the name if the cereal failed).  IN the end they decided on the name Maple Mountain and the aura of an old-fashioned New England setting. Maple Mountain was a place where folks worked hard, celebrated traditional values, and appreciated the authentic taste of maple syrup. Hell, New England practically invented tapping maple trees. (Never mind for a moment that the package ended up stating “artificial maple flavor” on the front).

 

Front cover of Maple Mountain Cereal box featuring waffle shaped cereal in a bowl with spoon and maple trees in background
Front cover of Maple Mountain Cereal box

In addition there were opportunities for merchandising. Part of the appeal was to children. Illustrated almanac pages on the rear of the box giving tips on nature, crafts – premiums like a mini compass, a sundial, a magnifying glass, comic books of old folk tales from maple Mountain, a guide to animal tracks, tips on capturing fireflies in a jar, were all possibilities.

The back of Maple Mountain Cereal includes proposed almanac pages with interesting facts and information geared towards children.
The back of Maple Mountain Cereal includes proposed almanac pages with interesting facts and information geared towards children.

The testing failed at the focus group level and the product never reached shelves, even in test-market.

Lesson learned: stick to superheroes or funny animals when advertising to children. Also, why not use real maple flavor in a maple cereal?

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