Pick Up Cereal Nostalgia (And A Game Coupon) At Target This Month

Classic re-release box and current Lucky Charms box
Classic re-release box and current Lucky Charms box

If there’s such a thing as a cereal geek, I am one. The kind of cereal geek who embarks on DIY Rice Krispies and cereal marshmallows. For the less industrious, did you know you can buy cereal marshmallows by the bag? DIY aside, this love springs from a childhood spent with a leprechaun, a bird and a rabbit in need of psychiatric treatment, and assorted other creatures I hardly needed to make me enjoy a bowl of crunchy goodness with milk.

Feeding that nostalgia, this month, General Mills has again released some of their cereals with classic box designs from the 40s-70s. For another week or so, you can get Cheerios, Honey Nut Cheerios, Lucky Charms, Cocoa Puffs, and Cinnamon Toast Crunch looking more like you remember them from your childhood–or maybe even your parents’ childhood.

It’s not as simple as just reprinting the old designs, though. The oldest of the bunch is the Cheerios box, based on their 1944 design, simple with a yellow box and blue circle featuring the cereal. At the time they were called “Cheerioats,” so the package has been updated to reflect the more modern name. They retook the photo of the cereal and were even lucky enough to find the bowl originally used in the 40s, which is white with blue stripes and stars.

The Cocoa Puffs design dates to the early 1970s:

Image credit: Ruth Suehle
Current Cocoa Puffs box beside retro box released this month. All images CC-BY Ruth Suehle

The original version included the words “Makes breakfast taste like chocolate!” under the “Yahoooo!” You can hear that tagline in this classic Cocoa Puffs commercial:

Lucky Charms is one of those cereals I don’t feel the same about any more, and I get a little old, crotchety, and “hey, you kids off my lawn” when I think about all the changes in the marshmallows.

Back in myyyyy day, we had pink hearts, yellow moons, orange stars, blue diamonds, and green clovers. That’s it! (This is where some of you can accuse me of being a whippersnapper, as the green clovers weren’t added until 1975.) I vividly recall 1989’s commercials listing off, “pink hearts, orange stars, yellow moons, green clovers, blue diamonds and purple horseshoes… and now red balloons!” That’s when things started to get out of hand.

Along came rainbows and leprechaun hats, and things got sparkly and swirly. Give me my original lineup! I was hoping that the special release with the pre-blue-diamonds-era box include a pre-blue-diamonds marshmallow lineup inside, but alas. The bowl of cereal pictured suggests otherwise, and thus I left the Lucky Charms on the shelf.

Classic re-release box and current Lucky Charms box
Classic re-release box and current Lucky Charms box

Did you know the cinnamon-ful delight we call “Cinnamon Toast Crunch” in the US is called “Croque-Cannelle” in France? The translation is roughly direct (minus the “Crunch”), but “Croque-Canelle” sounds like something your mom was way more likely to approve of for breakfast. But then, the French generally have better taste in breakfast foods in my opinion.

Classic Cinnamon Toast Crunch remake box, game promotion on back of box, and modern Cinnamon Toast Crunch box.
Classic Cinnamon Toast Crunch remake box, game promotion on back of box, and modern Cinnamon Toast Crunch box.

This box takes us to the look of the original 1984 Cinnamon Toast Crunch box, which is to say that several of you moms might not even remember a time before you could pour milk on your tiny cinnamon-sugar toast. Here’s a Christmas commercial from those first years:

The grocery store is a veritable wonderland of nostalgia lately. In the soda aisle, you can pick up Pepsi Throwback and its cousins. Last December, Herbal Essences brought back its 90s packaging–because the 90s count as “classic” now! But General Mills may have been ahead of the pack, now in their sixth year of giving us the retro look.

If you grab the nostalgic boxes at Target, they also carry a $5 coupon for four classic board games: Scrabble, Clue, Parcheesi, or Risk.

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By day, Ruth works to make open source software communities better. The rest of the time, she makes things, which means her husband and kids know to watch out for stray sewing pins and to ask before eating anything made of fondant.