Our man on the ra­dio has a bril­liant breakfast idea

What's On (Dubai) - - CONTENTS - WITH CAT­BOY

WWhen I was a kid, breakfast al­ways in­volved a ce­real box, and, there­fore, the high­light of breakfast was the free toy within. All those years ago I didn’t have the finely tuned marketing mind I have today; I just wanted to get my hands on what­ever was at the bot­tom of those crispy flakes or popped rice. Now, as a grown-up, I can see one or two flaws in the par­ent com­pa­nies’ strate­gies. First of all, the world back then wasn’t ram­pant with the com­plain cul­ture it is today. As an ex­am­ple, I once found a large, al­bino spi­der in a jar of hot­dogs. Th­ese days my par­ents would sue the com­pany and get a de­cent spread in the Daily Mail. Back then, when I showed my Dad, he smacked me around the head for bring­ing the arachnid del­i­cacy to his at­ten­tion.

The ce­real com­pa­nies would of­ten place toys made of small pieces of plas­tic di­rectly into the ce­real. Now, I’ve no idea how many kids choked on th­ese bits be­fore some­one up the man­age­ment lad­der called time on the idea, but I bet some did.

An­other thing that would garner com­plaints today would be the lack of thought about the toy-to-sib­ling ra­tio. With­out fail, there was al­ways one toy in the box. I have a younger brother. The good news (at least as far as get­ting the ce­real toy goes) was that I suf­fered with in­som­nia and he was vam­piric in his sleep­ing habits, there­fore, I’d be up be­fore him. The bad news was that he had a rage sec­ond to none. So, whilst I sat in the liv­ing room play­ing with my new toy, he would even­tu­ally trudge down­stairs, slam a few kitchen cup­boards, re­alise that the new ce­real box had been opened... and then the beast would be wo­ken.

Cue an Ali-Fore­man fist-fight, re­plete with nip­ping, eye-goug­ing and grasp­ing for the toy. Nei­ther brother will­ing to give an inch; nei­ther lis­ten­ing to our poor, scream­ing mother. We were deaf, dumb and blind to ev­ery­thing, apart from one thing… our Dad. You’ll re­mem­ber him from ear­lier in this story. He got an­gry about pos­si­bly poi­soned hot dogs, so his two lads ig­nor­ing his wife and de­stroy­ing the liv­ing room along the way would never be looked at in a ra­tio­nal man­ner. In his words: we wouldn’t be able to sit down for a week.

Again, if that were th­ese days, our Mum would be pen­ning a strongly worded e-mail, a snarky Face­book post, along with a bad review on Corn­flake Ad­vi­sor.

So it’s a good thing that free ce­real toys have gone, right? Per­haps. I know my kids aren’t in­ter­ested in any­thing that doesn’t have Snapchat and In­sta­gram, so I doubt they’d be happy with a cheap, card­board code-de­ci­pher.

Maybe they’re the wrong mar­ket al­to­gether.

Maybe com­pa­nies should be marketing free retro toys to nos­tal­giahun­gry Gen-Xers and Mil­len­ni­als. Af­ter all, we’ve got the dis­pos­able in­come and a long­ing to grasp onto any­thing that pre­tends to halt our hastily tick­ing life-clocks. We’re the ideal cus­tomers. They should def­i­nitely put their free toys in our break­fasts.

Although how you’d hide a bak­ing­soda drag­ster in av­o­cado and cloudeggs on quinoa toast is be­yond me.

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