Monday, June 2, 2008

Truly, sadly sympatico


You'd be hard-pressed to find a less ambitious name for a cereal than Product 19.  There's  no clever allusion here to the cereal having nineteen vitamins, nineteen ingredients or even nineteen spoonfuls per bowl.  Apparently, it's nothing more than what the name suggests -- the nineteenth product that Kellogg's marketed back in 1967.

In all likelihood, Product 19 was the code name for the cereal while in development and for some reason, it jumped to the top of the short list of potential names.  Maybe focus groups just thought it sounded somehow more important and more adult than their kid-brands like Frosted Flakes and Froot Loops.  Maybe Product 19 sounded like a close cousin of their Special K.  Maybe Kelloggs execs just liked it 'cause the name told grocers where to place it on their shelves.  

If the name alone wasn't apathetic enough, in 1971, it got saddled with one of the laziest, dreariest headlines ever in cereal advertising.  Well, I'll say this:  it is a good example of product and marketing being truly in sync -- to the detriment of both.

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