As far as short-lived, pop-culture-based products go, this cereal was one of the most memorable of them all. Many people who were at the right age to have seen Bill & Ted cartoons and the movie from the late 1980s until the early 1990s will remember this product with fondness. While this is not a cereal product that is still made today, it will still bring a smile to people’s faces when you ask about it.
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There were many different cereal products made during the 80s and 90s that were aimed at combining marketing efforts with movies and TV shows. This was the era of marketing via cereal that had been born in the 1970s, and it was also the time period when toys were often sold in each cereal box, and you could send box tops away for a prize.
If you were too young to witness the popularity of Bill & Ted’s Excellent Cereal, you can at least learn some more about this very unique cereal product that is only a memory today.
Bill & Ted’s Excellent Cereal History
Ralston made Bill & Ted’s Excellent Cereal, and they first sold it in 1990. The promotional tie-in at this time was with the cartoon, which was called Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventures-The Animated Series. This show only lasted for a brief 21 episodes that aired between 1990 and 1991, but it was based upon the far more successful movie with the same name.
Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure starred Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter, and George Carlin. This movie was a big success in 1989 and has continued to be a cult classic ever since. This is just one of many movies in the franchise, and it seemed logical that this movie and the resulting cartoon would be the perfect vehicle to market a cereal product.
While the movies went on to be successful, leading to two more installments of the cult classic called Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey and Bill & Ted Face the Music, the cereal and the cartoon were not so successful. There is likely an element of extreme competition in both of these other marketing spaces that led to the failure of the cereal and the cartoon, but it is also likely that Ralston was not aware that this product really needed to be marketed to adults. It would only be speculation at this point, but if the boxes of Bill & Ted’s Excellent Cereal had been linked with the movie, adults would probably have been more motivated to buy it.
One of the other unique things about marketing Bill & Ted’s Excellent Cereal was that it was made by the same company that originated the Purina products that are so familiar in the pet food market. The cereal itself was cinnamon flavored and had musical note-shaped marshmallows in it, but the regular cereal puffs bore a striking resemblance to Kibbles n’ Bits pieces. While it might not have been a factor in the success of the cereal, it is undeniable that most people will not be excited by eating something that reminds them of their dog’s kibble.
During the time that this cereal was on the market, there were lots of giveaways associated with it as well as heavy promotion. Items like “Hysterical Postcards” were quite common. These miniature postcards told the tale of Bill & Ted and their trips through time. There were also audio-cassette holders that were made to look like the famous or infamous phone booth from the movie and the show. Dial-A-Dude phone number organizers were also marketed alongside the cereal, and there were Time Travel Luggage Tags that were made as well.
One really unique marketing effort was listed on various boxes of cereal stating that you could, “win a real phone booth”. This was a truly crazy marketing idea as it is hard to imagine that anyone would really want a phone booth to have inside their home. However, if you were used to some of the other zany giveaways that were offered for products around the same time, maybe it didn’t seem that weird.
The marketing campaigns sold this cereal to kids and adults alike as, “a most awesome breakfast adventure”. The slogans were likely more interesting than the boxes of the cereal, which were actually quite cartoonish and not as intriguing as the brand likely hoped they would be. The characters didn’t even really resemble the movie characters very well, which was not the fault of Ralston but was instead an issue with the design of the show.
The cartoon was originally voice-acted by the two leads for the movie, but this did not carry over into season 2 of the cartoon version of the movie. It is likely that many people felt the shift away from the movie quite clearly, even when interacting with the cartoon. This change of tone might have also impacted the cereal and its sales.
While it is hard to source any information at all about the recipe, it was probably not that different from other puffed-wheat cereals at the time. The inclusion of marshmallows would have made the cereal a little sweeter, but there was already a move to curb at least some of the sugar content of cereals.
This was a far cry from the awareness that consumers now have with regard to the risks of consuming lots of sugar every day, but one of the reasons that this cereal might not have been very popular was that it might have been fairly bland.
Many other puffed wheat cereals that were marketed at about the same time also did not last, and even with marshmallows in the mix, these slightly dry and crumbly cereals might just have been too boring to be enjoyable. Many people who do remember eating Bill & Ted’s Excellent Cereal will admit that it was pretty bland and often too dry to be really enjoyable.
There is no reason to get a box of Bill & Ted’s Excellent Cereal that might be offered on eBay unless you are not planning to actually eat it. Cereals were never meant to keep fresh for that long, and you will not enjoy your culinary experience if you give cereal that is so far out of date a try. Some things need to just stay in the past, and this is probably one of those things.
Bill & Ted’s Cereal Boxes
There was really only one version of the box for this cereal since it was not on shelves for very long. The background was blue, and Bill and Ted were shown right in the middle near a phone booth. Inside the phone booth is George Carlin’s character. “Excellent cereal” is placed below the heroes, and the Bill & Ted’s portion of the cereal’s name is much larger and arches over the phone booth.
There is also an image of a bowl of cereal that really does look a lot like dog food with marshmallows in it. Most of the boxes stated in the bottom right corner that you could win a phone booth, and there is an image of a totally amazed kid looking at a phone booth in wonder near this proclamation.
The smaller font on the box states, “A Most Awesome Breakfast Adventure” above the top logo, and then on the left side of the box, it states, “Cinnamon Oat Cereal & Marshmallow Notes!” The top right corner of the box states that the cereal is “fortified with 12 essential vitamins and minerals” and “No tropical oils”.
There is a lot going on on the front of this cereal box, and it is hard to decide where to even look when you first encounter the box. It’s not even totally clear what is going on with regard to the logo since there is so much font going on and so many images behind it. The simple cereals like Trix, Cheerios, and other mainstays did not have this kind of busy nature, and this might have been a key aspect of the downfall of Bill & Ted’s Excellent Cereal as well.
Bill & Ted’s Excellent Cereal Toys:
- Audio-cassette holder shaped like a phone booth
- Dial-A-Dude phone number organizers
- Time Travel Luggage Tags
The audio-cassette holder was by far the most common of the toys that were offered with the cereal, and these were so large that they were not placed inside the boxes but were instead attached to the front of the boxes. This was a very simple item that was just a plastic box with a sticker on it depicting the heroes.
There were a few versions of this sticker, but they all indicated that the item was a telephone booth at the top and included the same logo as on the cereal boxes. It’s hard for modern audiences to understand the need for this kind of large plastic item to hold a cassette tape, but there were probably kids who found it quite useful.
Bill & Ted’s Excellent Cereal Logo
Bill & Ted’s Excellent Cereal Nutrition
|Serving Size||1 cup||% Daily Value|
|Amount Per Serving|
|Calories from Fat||8.8|
Pictures of Bill & Ted’s Excellent Cereal
Bill & Ted’s Excellent Cereal Ads:
One of the original ads for the cereal:
A video showing the classic packaging:
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