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6 Valuable Marketing Lessons We Can Learn From Cereal Brands

If there was an award for the most eye-catching aisle in the supermarket, the cereal aisle would be the undisputed winner. After all, cereal is one of the most heavily marketed food items out there. Cereal marketers have developed some nifty techniques to stay relevant in a competitive industry. 

Surely there are some valuable techniques here that we can translate into our own marketing strategy – even if your ideal customer isn’t a sugar-craving child, having a paddy on a supermarket floor.

1. Don’t Be Afraid of Bright Colours

bright brand umbrellas

Cereal boxes are brightly coloured for a reason; they’re eye-catching and stimulating. When selecting your brands colour palette, you may want to consider the use of one or two bright colours.

Even if you are going for a more muted scheme, having one bold colour within your palette will give you so much more versatility and allow you to play around with eye-catching designs.

2. Consider a Mascot

Nearly all kid’s cereals have a giant animal mascot slapped on the front of the packaging. Don’t fall into the trap of believing that this technique is reserved for younger audiences. 

Animal mascots are highly memorable, which helps customers remember your brand. It doesn’t have to be a huge part of your business. Consider adding an animated chatbot or a mascot that is carried through your email campaigns and blog posts. Get creative. 

3. Make ‘Eye Contact’

making eye contact marketing

If you take a closer look at the animal mascots on cereal boxes, you’ll notice that they all have one thing in common. Their eyes are all looking downwards, and this is no coincidence. This makes sure that the characters make eye contact with the small children who will be persuading their parents to buy a certain cereal. 

This technique can be translated into the general marketing world via the use of subconscious direction.  All web content and emails should be figuratively ‘pointing’ towards a call-to-action. This can be done through strategic layout and wording, or more directly, with arrows and imagery.

4. Use Your Space

Every single surface of a cereal box is filled with something. They even have marketing material inside the box! Translated into the business world, this means using every single web page, social post, email or brochure as an opportunity to engage your customers. Make sure you have every angle covered and use the space effectively.

5. Make It Fun

As a child, did you ever sit at the breakfast table tracing your finger around a maze on the back of a cereal box? Having puzzles on their packaging increases engagement time between consumer and product. Without this, the box would just go straight back in the cupboard or the consumer’s attention would be elsewhere. 

Creating something fun for your customer to do can offer a well-needed break. This gives them a naturally positive feeling towards your brand, as well as encouraging them to spend more time with your brand. Why not try adding a quiz to your social media and blogs, or a crossword on your marketing material?

6. Entice with Toys

toys in cereal marketing

Similar to Happy Meals and magazines, the toys in a cereal box play a huge role in the decision-making process. Subconsciously, the consumer knows they aren’t buying the product for a toy. But also, who can say no to free gifts?

In business, offering a reward for an action can be extremely valuable. Perhaps a discount when they refer a friend?

Another great way to offer free gifts is through competitions, where the entry requirements benefit your company, i.e. sharing, following, or recommending. 


This just goes to show that marketing inspiration is everywhere. It doesn’t have to come straight from your own industry. Have a look around you and see how you can repurpose a technique to suit your company. 

Which cereal marketing technique can you see yourself trying out in the future? 

Happy National Cereal Day!