Part of a well-balanced breakfast for any self-respecting Cubs fan.
First baseman Anthony Rizzo has his own box of branded cereal, now being sold in Chicagoland area Jewel-Osco stores. It's a way to promote his Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation and proceeds from the sales of his cereal go towards fighting cancer, a demon he's been lucky enough to slay.
When I found out this was a thing, I shamelessly ran out to the nearest grocer and bought myself a box... because I'm a man-child. Accordingly, a Saturday morning seemed like the perfect setting to break it out; I can eat my big bowl of cereal plopped down in front of the TV with some Saturday morning cartoons.
While I do that, here's a closer look at the box itself - featuring a "cartoon" Rizz taking a powerful cut in what appears to be Wrigley Field, set against Cubbie blue pinstripes. The artwork was created by Ron Kantronitz, who appears to have also done the artwork for Jerome Bettis HOF Crunch. He likes his cereal art.
Also, if you look really closely, you'll see and "R" on his helmet instead of a Cubs "C." Thus, apparently the franchise let him do this one alone.
The back details all the good work that the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation does in the field of cancer research and lists the charities to which are benefiting from cereal purchases.
Here are the side panels, if you were that interested in my box of cereal. On one side, we get Anthony's vital statistical information on the diamond and his resume of honors. On the other side, of course, we find the vital nutritional information for the cereal, as required by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
As for the cereal itself, it's just a box of re-branded, generic Cheerios. However, anyone who buys this isn't truly buying it for the cereal contained within - they're buying it for the super cool box and the charitable contributions. The cereal is second banana here.
Furthermore, this isn't the first time that a Cub has had their own brand of cereal released in the Windy City either:
On that note, it's a shame that the RizzO's didn't come with it's own companion trading card as well; this would have been a good opportunity for a fun, unlicensed oddball.
Breakfast cereals and sports have a long relationship (eat your Wheaties, kids!) and as such, sports trading card have an almost equally long relationship with your main course at breakfast. While Wheaties was putting sporting celebrities on the front of their boxes, they were also often including cut-out cards on the back too:
Borrowed from Mears Online Auctions
From there, the idea only continued to grow. These little pictures of athletes were a good way to get young boys and girls to clamor for the cereal you were trying to shill.
Of course, Post is probably the most prolific of the breakfast giants to apply this concept, originally distributing them on the backs of their cereal boxes in the early 60's:
Of course, when the junk wax era exploded into the collecting landscape and branded trading card sets were produced by everyone from Woolworth's to Fruit of the Loom, Post revisited this idea:
Then Major League Baseball and the MLB Player's Union saw the benefits and money that could be made from these little pictures of their membership and exclusive licenses became a thing, bursting the junk wax bubble and the oddball trading card market.
That said, Post did try one more time in 2002, creating a special set with Topps that was inserted into their products. However, it was didn't reach anywhere near the success of their previous ventures.
However, while Post might have been the earliest adopter and produced a bunch of sets across multiple decades, the baseball cards put out by Kelloggs in the 70's and 80's might still be the most famous of the cereal issues:
The whole 3D gimmick really allowed Kellogg's cards to stand out from the Topps products of the time and created a product that is still highly desirable and sought out today. After all, what one of us collectors doesn't get giddy about finding a Kellogg's card in a trade package?
Of course, there have been plenty of other cereal brands that have also had trading cards as part of their marketing scheme over the years; however, the only other such branding represented in my collection is through Quaker Oats' popular Cap'n Crunch brand:
This was another partnership with the iconic baseball card manufacturer, with cards being inserted into boxes of the cereal most known for tearing up the roof of your mouth (but tasting so very good while doing so). The year was 1989 and it must not have been deemed a success because it never returned.
So, there you have it - we started out with a box of novelty/charity branded cereal and ended up with a full rundown of all of the cereal-issued cards in my baseball card collection. What a wild ride this "Post" has been! *rimshot*
I know I miss the days of finding baseball cards in my boxes of cereal (in fact, my first baseball card ever was a 1994 Post Mark Whitten). Perhaps if Topps' first foray into food-issue cards in many moons (the Marketside Pizza release) is a success, the floodgates might open and I'll be able to add cards to my collection and Frosted Flakes to my stomach at the same time.
In the meantime, I'll just drown my sorrows with a second... ok, third.... helping of RizzOs (I love breakfast cereal) and hope.
Cereal cards are a good idea - how come no one at Topps will listen to me? I'm super cereal!