Thursday, October 23, 2003

The cereal blog.

This just in (recently) -- from my correspondent in Minneapolis -- my italics added:

BLOOMINGTON, MN-General Mills has closed down Cereal Adventure at the Mall of America, leaving a 16,000-sf hole at the country's largest enclosed shopping mall.

"The Golden Valley, MN-based food company's three-year-old, 16,000-sf attraction included cereal-themed games and playground equipment, a cafe and a retail store that sold branded merchandise. General Mills had charged admission to Cereal Adventure, which includes a museum and a theme park, both related to its products such as Lucky Charms, Cocoa Puffs and Betty Crocker.

"The food company said the decision was based in part on spending its marketing dollars on other efforts. Initially, the food giant viewed Cereal Adventures as a way to promote its products to the 42 million-plus visitors each year to the Mall of America."

Now that's gall. (Something like selling branded merchandise.) "C'mon, folks, welcome to our 3D, real-time advertisement. You have to pay to see it." Which is exactly backwards. General Mills is vague about its reasons for closing Cereal Empire, but I wonder if it's because they couldn't find enough suckers to pay to get in.

I haven't been to the Mall of America. Yet. When I go to Minneapolis next month, I might well end up there for a look. It would be a professional obligation, if nothing else. On my previous visit to Minneapolis five years ago -- and until next month my only visit -- I forgot about the Mall of America. I had other things in mind: I saw the state capitol in St. Paul, the Museum of Questionable Medical Devices, even the cemetery in which Hubert Humphrey reposes (I didn't have time to find his stone; but I should, someday; it counts as a Vice Presidential resting place, and I haven't visited enough of them).

Just before I left town, one of my hosts said, "You didn't ask to see the Mall of America. I'm glad. Everybody wants to go there, and I'm tired of it." A mall's a mall. A big mall's just a big mall. But I think I'll go there anyway, if only to see the hole that once was Cereal Kingdom.


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