General Mills' monster cereals pair with DC Comics

General Mills turned to the superhero comics illustrators for this year’s box art.

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General Mills’ new product packaging for its “monster” cereals. The foodmaker hopes new illustrations from DC Comics will catch the eyes of kids.

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General Mills’ “monster” cereals — Count Chocula & Co. — will be back in stores with a twist this year: box art from DC Comics.

Golden Valley-based General Mills Inc. seasonally releases Count Chocula, Franken Berry and Boo Berry cereals, timing their appearances with the run-up to Halloween. The cereals began shipping last week, and full distribution is expected by the beginning of September.

This year, artists at DC Comics — home of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, the Justice League and other superheroes — depicted the namesake cereal characters.

They aimed to make Count Chocula look “extra mysterious,” according to a General Mills blog.

DC Comics illustrator Jim Lee worked on his childhood favorite cereal, Boo Berry.

“He’s not just a monster,” Lee said on the blog. “To me, he was the smartest of the trio.”

The monster cereals this year also feature DC Comics-penned comic strips on the back of each box.

Marketing experts said the DC Comics hookup is a natural for selling cereal.

“As a kid, how did you choose a cereal? I went for the prize or the coolness of the box,” said Jennifer Johnson, an advertising professor at the University of Minnesota. “I’ve always found the DC Comics artwork to have a level of darkness, attitude and intrigue. And with a more visually demanding consumer, making this visual shift may amp up the intrigue in the brands.”

Jim Cousins, president of the Minneapolis ad agency Wingnut said DC Comics-inspired box art is a strong match for a younger cereal-eating demographic.

“Instinctively this feels like a great fit,” said Cousins, whose agency is not a General Mills client. “You have a youth audience and comic strips and comic strips that are made into movies.”

Lauren Pradhan, the General Mills marketing manager for the monster cereals, told the blog, “We wanted to ensure that Count Chocula, Franken Berry and Boo Berry still looked like the monsters our fans know and love, but with a DC Comics twist.”

 

Mike Hughlett • 612-673-7003 David Phelps • 612-673-7269

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