Cereals go Back to the Future.

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Cap’n Crunch just launched its retro packaging, using original type and design, as well as old-skool collectible trading cards on the back.

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it’s a definite departure from the modernized packaging that has evolved over the years, but it’s hard to tell who’ll notice, beyond hipster art directors and collector freaks. I especially like the trading card idea, since the brand is now leveraging the real estate they own to engage the consumer, rather than blathering about nutritional information, or made-up games and activities. And they are leveraging equities and properties they, alone, own. No Spiderman tie-in, no Shrek partnership. The collectibility of the cards is questionable, but the impact is perfect for a throwback marketing effort.

The ’60s style Cap’n Crunch box follows last year’s efforts by General Mills at Target. There they launched limited-time-only retro versions of classic cereals.6a00d8345250f069e20112790aec0428a4-800wi.jpg 6a00d8345250f069e20112790ae19428a4-800wi.jpg The effort had retro blogs chattering, and i assume they saw incremental sales of these throwback boxes, especially from people who weren’t in the store to buy cereal. The weird thing is that they included Honey Nut Cheerios, which certainly doesn’t fit in the “historic” category with Cocoa Puffs, Trix or even Lucky Charms. Guess it’s a sign of the times that the 1980s are now considered nostalgic.

They didn’t use the actual vintage art, but created new illustrations based on the classic style. And the photography is new, showing the current form of the cereal. Legal made sure of that. They also featured a collectible t-shirt using vintage cereal art, available only via the Target skus.

This summer there were retro soft drinks, too. Throwback editions of “Mountain Dew and Pepsi,” both of which leveraged the use of real sugar instead of high-fructose corn syrup to carve out a spot on the shelves. The Mountain Dew packaging jumps off the shelf, and is a hilarious reminder of its hillbilly roots back in the day. I’m sure this was no easy decision by the branding folks who have worked so hard to contemporize the Dew brand. For the past few years California hipsters have been tweeting about real-sugar Coca-Cola brought up from Mexico. It definitely tastes different. And better, if you ask me. gg0209_mexican-coke_02.jpg A week ago I saw two teenagers buy a classic Coke in the retro glass bottle at a 7-11. Then I watched them sit in their car while they tried, unsuccessfully, to screw the old-skool bottle cap off. I guarantee they don’t own a bottle opener. But their parents still do :)

Note: Bloggers are riffing on the rumored launch of Retro Coke, using the original cocaine-based formula. Now THAT’S a promotion I’d love to see . . .

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