By 1906, Kellogg's Corn Flakes had become widely available to the public, launched through the power of the first cereal promotion in history, a premium gift with purchase.
“The Funny Jungleland Moving Pictures Book” featured drawings of an elephant, a giraffe, a lion and an alligator. The drawings were formatted so children could interpose the head of one animal onto the body of another and the legs of a third. Kellogg produced eight carloads of the books and delivered them to grocers with their orders. Grocers, in turn, gave one book to every consumer buying two boxes of Kellogg's Corn Flakes. This simple little premium promotion would prove to be the backbone of Kellogg's marketing for the next 23 years.
In 1909, Kellogg's changed the book promotion from an in-store giveaway to a premium mail-in offer. Consumers were offered the books through on-pack ads, all for the cost of one thin dime. Now a dime doesn't sound like much today, but according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, it was worth the equivalent of $1.87 in 2003 dollars. By early 1912, Kellogg's had distributed an astonishing 2.5 million Jungleland books.
There isn't a marketer breathing today that wouldn't be delighted to have an extended response rate of 2.5 million, but recall that we're talking about America of 1912. At that time, the total U.S. population was only 92.4 million people. Through July of 2002, the U.S. population stood at 288.4 million, an increase of 312%. When you run the math, you discover that Kellogg's 1912 results of 2.5 million books distributed would translate to 7.8 million against today's population, a staggering response today for any mail-in.
Over the years, the book was constantly republished and even reformatted. The back page of later editions featured ads with “the old woman who lived in the shoe.” She was depicted bringing home a basketful of Kellogg's cereals to her family. Accompanying the art was the rhyme:
“There was an old woman,
Who lived in a shoe.
She had lots of children,
But knew what to do.
She gave them Kellogg's Corn Flakes,
Three times a day.
And they thrived and they grew,
In a marvelous way.”
The book was last offered to consumers in 1937, by which time it had reached over two generations of cereal consumers.