Post Cereal's 2004 MLS Footbags

(By Christopher Wilson)

If one enjoys an element of danger with their breakfast, Post was happy to oblige in 2004.

Second only to water and electricity as a lethal combination is soccer balls and bowls of cereal. But that didn't stop Post from including a Major League Soccer miniature plush ball in specially marked boxes of their sweetened corn and oats.

The box fronts featured one of four MLS players and their team crest (Freddy Adu of DC United, Chris Armas of the Chicago Fire, Landon Donovan of the San Jose Earthquakes or Taylor Twellman of the New England Revolution) and advertised a "soccer footbag" inside.

Nine cereals were part of the promotion, including Alpha-Bits, Marshmallow Alpha-Bits, Cocoa Pebbles, Fruity Pebbles, Golden Crisp, Honeycomb, Strawberry Blast Honeycomb, Oreo O's and Waffle Crisp.

While the front of the box promotes the cereal, a good back of the box will provide entertainment while one is eating the cereal. And Post didn't skimp on the box backs, advertising their online game, "Stadium Soccer Showdown," that made one fantasize while crunching on multicolored Pebbles.

Can it be considered a complaint that Fred and Barney weren't shown on the back of the Pebbles boxes playing soccer for Bedrock FC?

At the time this was the largest marketing promotion in MLS history, as Kraft Foods (which owned Post) produced 11.5 million cereal boxes, almost none of which can be found for sale online today, though the footbags/hacky sacks do appear for cheap periodically on eBay.

I do take issue with the use of the term "footbag." Everyone knows footbags are what teachers used to tie on my and other kids' feet when it was raining and we had no galoshes.

Kraft claims to have made two 30-second commercials featuring all four MLS players pitching the cereal, though my only recollection is seeing the cereal on store shelves. Four different MLS footbags were advertised, which each had the official MLS logo.

Only the ball panels varied in color, giving eaters the option of a black, blue or red ball. It was either faulty advertising or someone distinguishing between navy blue and royal blue, because I was left a little hoodooed, having never seen proof of a fourth color. I just said "hoodooed."

I made my commitment to Taylor Twellman's cereal, that being Waffle Crisp, which proved to be a good decision. One of the blue footbags was inside my box, and blue was my preferred color, just because. I also felt sorry for Twellman, since he was the only one of the four not to make the MLS All-Star Game that year. Knowing this fact may ease his pain.

This was not the first cereal promotion MLS had, nor was it the last, but to date it has been the best. A toy inside a box of cereal cannot be topped, no matter how many times the toy gets errantly kicked into a full cereal bowl, splashing milk onto one's pants.

Christopher is a Waco, Texas, resident, Editor in Chief of MyBriefs.com, author of the book "Sports Briefs" and the adult writer for the Gab Four. Read more of his solo columns here.

https://twitter.com/mybriefschris

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