Genius Marketing Tactics of Captain Crunch


How did this box of Captain Crunch end up in my kitchen? I love good marketing and I think whoever put together this marketing for Captain Crunch is a genius.

I had mentioned to a friend recently how much I liked Captain Crunch – Crunch Berries cereal as a kid. So when they were in the supermarket recently they saw this and picked it up for me as a surprise. What a fun surprise gift – but what was even more exciting is the marketing behind this product so let’s look at that now…

First of all, this is a holiday themed release for a one-time purchase. Most adults probably would not buy Captain Crunch because of it’s sugar content. But here’s a one-time fun purchase (and hey, if you like this box who says you might not buy another a few months down the road?)

In addition to the one-time purchase holiday theme is the “Limited Edition” banner in the top left corner. The subtext to this is that this is not only a short term release, but only available to the limited number of special people that are savvy enough to make the purchase. Heck, “Limited Edition” almost feels like you are making an investment.

But the purchase point is “Ghosts Turn Milk Green!” – How fun is that? And it’s not even St. Patrick’s Day. My friend could not resist and opened the box late at night and grabbed a handful of this cereal – then opened their mouth wide “Is my mouth green?”. No, it wasn’t. Further tests were needed and I would have to wait until morning with proper milk in the bowl to complete my investigations.

Yes! The milk turns green! I texted my friend that it actually worked. Now, this product has become an experience, and in marketing we know that what makes us buy is not always the product itself but the EXPERIENCE of buying the product. My friend had fun buying the product for me (a great experience with the Halloween packaging) and we both had fun testing the product to see if it delivered. And it did deliver – but whoever the Captain Crunch marketing genius is, they didn’t stop there…


The front box cover was a call to action with several reasons to buy the product. Now the side panel is a call to action for future sales and marketing. On the top is “Try These Other Scare-Rific Flavors!” – the flavors mentioned are not holiday flavors, they are the normal flavors you can get all year long. But they present them in the same context as the product you already bought – the Halloween themed Captain Crunch. And on the bottom is four pitches to connect on social media or visit their website. Nothing mind-blowing here, although I think presenting the normal flavors in the context of this particular product with a holiday theme is very well thought out. Now, on to what makes this cereal box marketing genius…


Most cereal boxes have something to do on the back cover and it’s usually fairly mundane like a maze you can complete in 4 seconds or mind-numbing trivia. So this box includes some trivia on the sides but the genius is this: Instructions to carve Captain Crunch onto a pumpkin. Whereas a maze or trivia is a fully time filler while you’re eating, this pumping carving template can put advertisements for Captain Crunch on doorsteps all across the country. Nothing that’s corporately sinister about this, it’s just great marketing. GENIUS! This product contains all the elements for an impulse buy to sectors that would not normally buy the product, it contains calls to action for future sales and contains an element to encourage individual households to proudly promote the company mascot.

And again, the product delivers on it’s claim to turn the mild green. Yes, it was very fun to see that and I don’t mind admitting that.

So in marketing your own product consider these elements:

  • Can you make claims that will close impulse sales, and then follow through on those claims?
  • Does your product include elements that encourage future sales of related products?
  • Does your product include an element to encourage clients to promote your product on their own?

Note to my music friends: Why is Captain Crunch on a music related website? Because you can use these same principles in marketing your music.

Disclaimer: I am not connected with Captain Crunch or it’s parent companies in any way, shape or form.

One thought on “Genius Marketing Tactics of Captain Crunch

  1. Great marketing, Conrad.

    I ate Capt. Crunch as a kid but thought I had no interest in it now until you hooked me with the marketing angle. Thanks for your well thought out blog about its marketing aspects and for saying that musicians could use these techniques.

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