Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Coming Soon to a Grocery Store Near You

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?


  1. I'd want anything I wrote to end up in a cereal with sugar. Nothing high fiber.

    We love those Cheerios books around here. For a while they had dual Spanish/English books and the Spanish teachers collected them for their classes and gave them out as prizes. It's very cool.

    Far more exciting than happy meal toys, at least for the grown ups.

  2. Between corn flakes and shreddies, I have no idea which best illustrates me...

  3. Aw, you beat me to Pop Tarts. Okay, then, package me with Folgers because my stories wake you up. *ggg*

    I love the Cheerios campaign! We've collected 4 of 5, and I whipped out 2 of them during out last power outage to entertain the sprouts when they reached the "this isn't fun anymore" stage. A perfect distraction.

  4. It would only be fair to have it be Pop-Tarts since my protag eats pop-tarts with some degree of regularity throughout the story. Breakfast food of paranormal champions, so it seems.

  5. Captain Crunch is my fav to eat, but not so sure it's a great one to send my books out in. It would have to be an "adult cereal." LOL

    ALL BRAN? Maybe the book could help bring a bit of kick to breakfast?

  6. My characters eat so much porridge (poor things!) that it would have to be that. Quaker objections or no! lol

  7. bran fan11:57 AM

    Ohhh, I want Captain Crunch since my main character is a pirate!

    For the WIP... I'm thinking Lucky Charms.

    I'm just going by the names here, not the nutritional content (what little there is).

  8. Froot Loops. Even though I don't eat them (everyone else in the family does), they turn up in an awful lot of band catering riders.

  9. IHOP.
    Because it crosses genres. *snort!*

  10. Coffee?

    Mine are dark, kinda bitter... (And hopefully funny horror stories).

  11. Heh. Yep... Count Chocula or Frankenberry!


  12. Val Ford6:00 PM

    Eggo Waffles. Totally and completely.

    Failing that, Jimmy Dean sausage sandwiches. ;)

  13. Probably something like Sultana Bran: it tastes great, fills you up, but might just give you the s**ts.

  14. That *is* a great idea! More companies should get into this because it would definitely help spread your books to a wider audience (especially if sold through a product whose customers might have some specific interest in your genre or topic). Go General Mills for promoting literacy!

    On a side note, I totally saw a copy of Shockball sitting on a table outside of a computer lab in the Environmental Building at my university last week. It had a cute little sticker on it inviting a passer-by to pick it up, read it, record where they'd picked it up online, and then setting it down in another random area. I can't remember what the sticker called it, but I thought it was such a cool idea! I didn't pick it up since I already own the book, but sure enough, the next day it was gone. ^_~

  15. Whaddya mean Totino's pizza rolls aren't a breakfast food? Oh, fine...

    I have a character who eats Reese's Puffs straight out of the box. Not really my target audience there, but hey, if they want to sponsor me, I won't put up too much of a fight.

  16. Coffee, or if they can be counted as a breakfast food, cheese slices because they show up in my latest YA.

  17. bran fan12:17 PM

    lleeo, that was Bookcrossing. You can join without finding a book. It is the most fun you can have with your used books! I do it all the time and it just makes my day when my books are found. They have a website that explains how it works. bookcrossing.com

  18. Wheaties. Definitely.

  19. :P

    Hey, I finally figured out one that doesn't involve cartoon character cereals! ;)

    Huevos ranchero.

    Cause it's like totally scrambled and it gets a little spicy.

  20. Hey, thanks, Bran Fan! It's just such a neat idea--I will definitely be checking that out! :D