I've talked about Ghostbusters Cereal before, and now, I'm going to do it again. Let's face it, there's a few topics worthy of endless milking -- religious meandering, our nation's economical state, and Ghostbusters Cereal. When the shit first hit store shelves way back when, it was in a simple box featuring the classic "NO GHOSTS MANG!" logo. The cereal itself was simple oat bits of the aforementioned logo, entrenched with ghost marshmallows. It sold well enough, but there was a slight problem. In its initial state, GB Cereal was based moreover on the movie than on "The Real Ghostbusters" cartoon. As kids got more and more into Venkman's animated adventures, there always seemed to be something missing in that bowl of breakfast fun. Where in God's name was Slimer? How could you have a Ghostbusters cereal without Slimer?!
Ralston knew where their bread was buttered, so in time, changes were made. First, Slimer began appearing in some of the ad spots. They even gave away cutout Slimer-faced door hangers on specially marked boxes. It wasn't enough to start the real revolution, and for those ends, there was just one thing they needed to do. Slimer: The Marshmallow.
Ahhh, finally. Little green Slimer marshmallows, and a whole lot of 'em. Their addition was important for several reasons. Of course, putting Slimer more closely in the mix was an admirable thing from a sales standpoint, since the ghost had quickly replaced all of our beloved Ghostbusters as the most popular character connected to the lore. (also see: Ecto-Cooler) Plus, the cereal itself had turned into one hell of a phenom. You had green marshmallows, white marshmallows, and a truckload of crunchy bits in virtually every other color of the rainbow. Or three of 'em, at least. For kids, a whole lotta colors equated to a much better cereal. I wouldn't call a breakfast that mixed so many different fruit flavors and chalky marshmallows something I'd line up to eat nowadays, but back then, it was an opus glory we could tap into for just under four bucks.
Getting to the point of this article, a children's cereal is only as successful as its free toy. Kids will forgive terrible taste for a terrific freebie, so if Ralston was serious about sparking new intrigue with Ghostbusters Cereal, they needed to have a great giveaway up their sleeve. I wouldn't call it the best I've seen, but what they came up with was certainly interesting. Ghostbusters Cereal...in a glow-in-the-dark box!
Touted as being the "first glow-in-the-dark cereal box ever," indeed, that's what it was. Basically, they put that special glowy coating over all the whiter parts of the box, so everything from the ghost logo to the nutritional label lent its holy light to all who'd seek it. I seem to remember a well populated fascination amongst youth society for anything with the GB logo on it, so you could imagine how highly regarded this here box was. Surely there were some kids who could pass up the original cereal, but now that there were Slimer marshmallows and a box that glowed? No friggin' way. We were living in a material world, and the best material possessions are the ones you can eat parts of. This stuff was aces, and the fun didn't stop there.
The back of the box featured four cutout trading cards, each boasting the same glowy powers as the rest of the cardboard. Slimer fans immediately took note of his card, though I was more interested in the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man's appearance. Man, I loved that guy. The teaser shots of him in all of the movie commercials made me get past my initial fright of seeing it with my parents, and despite my serious want to go the fuck home after that scary ass ghost in the library made her appearance within the first five minutes of the film, I couldn't do it. I swallowed my fear and tried not to cry. I had to see Stay Puft. Eventually scored his action figure and some kind of strange Stay Puft-shaped radio, but this glowing trading card was far cheaper, and I didn't have to wait for any birthdays or religious holidays to get it. "Hey Mom, I'm hungry." It was always easier to boost my toy collections through the magic of cereal premiums than at Toys R' Us.
So, you might be wondering what any of this has to do with Halloween. I guess it doesn't, but come on, ghosts in of themselves are inherently Halloweeny. It may be a stretch, but it's not a big stretch. Besides, why are you complaining? I'm even gonna put up a link so you can download the commercial. In fact, I'm going to do that right now. Click on the pic below; bask in the majesty. Ghostbusters Cereal isn't as tailored for Halloween as Count Chocula, but that guy never came to me as a glowing trading card. Go Slimer!