To help celebrate National Children' Book Week, for the sixth year in a row General Mills shipped five million free children's books inside boxes of Cheerios®, one of its most popular and enduring cereal products.
Before you chuckle at the idea, you should know that 25% of the books being sold in the U.S. are bought at grocery stores.
This is the kind of marketing that promotes literacy, puts books instead of cheap plastic toys in the hands of kids, and demonstrates thinking inside and outside the box (not to mention the tax write-off for General Mills.) Imagine being one of the five authors whose books were chosen for this campaign -- in addition to the great honor of being selected for this project, just envision a million copies of your story delivered to the exact people whom you want to buy your books.
It also made me wonder what cereal I'd lobby for to send free copies of my books to the grocery store. I usually have plain oatmeal for breakfast to help keep my cholesterol down, but the Quaker Oats guy would likely have some religious objections to my work. Sometimes I eat Grape Nuts® or Raisin Nut Bran®, and I'm sure some reviewer would probably interpret that as a slur on their character. My daughter loves Cinnamon Toast Crunch®, but she's in that teenage stage where everything I do is a homework conspiracy or simply wrong. She'd see my book and probably groan something like "Geez, Mom, did you HAVE to put a novel in my cereal? I told you, I already did my English homework."
And Shiloh, the witch, would probably grab the rights to Count Chocula® before I could get them. Hmmmmm. I'd rather pick a product that illustrates me the writer. Pop-Tarts®?
You writers out there, if you could convince a breakfast food manufacturer to distribute free copies of your latest story, who would you pick?