In 1998, Flutie Flakes, AKA frosted corn flakes, made their debut. It was a novelty breakfast cereal at the time, meant to capitalize on the NFL great’s status across the country. It worked, too. Flutie expected that perhaps only several thousand boxes would be sold, but sales went through the roof and 2.3 million boxes went flying off store shelves.
It could be due, in part, to the fact that the cereal was meant to raise money for a foundation Flutie supported, and still supports, but the tale doesn’t end there. Consumers should get ready to once again be able to purchase Flutie Flakes at certain local grocery stores.
Flutie Flakes To Make Comeback
The cereal is going to make a resurgence as the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism looks to raise funds. Studies conducted by the group’s marketing staff have shown that there is still a lot of interest in the product, especially around Buffalo, where Flutie spent 13 years as quarterback for the Buffalo Bills. Flutie is humble about the possible return of the cereal, but realizes that sales may not reach the levels seen previously.
Flutie told ESPN yesterday, “I was surprised it did what it did when it did it. Then we came out with a 10th anniversary and those did OK, did fairly well. Then they started talking 20th anniversary and I’m like, ‘We’re pushing this, aren’t we?'”
The boxes will apparently for as long as there is enough interest. Distribution is expected to begin this week on a limited basis, with the first boxes rolling out the door at New Era Field on Sunday. That coincides with a ceremony that will honor Flutie as a Legend of the Game as the Bills prepare to take on the Baltimore Ravens and, the following week, the cereal will be found both online and at Wegman’s grocery stores. A portion of the proceeds will be given to Flutie’s foundation.
The former Heisman Trophy winner and All-American launched his foundation after a discussion he had with the former quarterback of the Bills, Jim Kelly. Kelly had established his own organization to support research into nervous system disorders affecting children, and the idea of the autism charitable group grew from there. With the help of a $25,000 signing bonus from the Bills, Flutie made history.
In sales, timing is everything and Flutie Flakes came to market just at the right time. Initially, Flutie envisioned the cereal as a great marketing plan that would add funds to the charity and, perhaps, sell around 20,000 boxes. However, he quickly became a household name as the Bills starting quarterback and the cereal came around when he was having the best performance of his career. That propelled awareness, recognition and sales through the roof, helping the cereal become a huge success.
Flutie added to ESPN, “If I had stayed the backup, no way [it gets this big]. It just happened to time up with me starting to play, me starting to play well and us starting to win, the people in Buffalo getting excited. People were just excited at the time and we came out with the box and it took off. That was just a perfect storm coincidence, a fun thing and the fans just jumped on and supported it. It was awesome.”
Based on the success of Flutie Flakes, other athletes have seen their likenesses appear on personally-branded cereals over the years. Two of the most notable were Gronk Flakes and Mahomes Magic Crunch, respectively following Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots and Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs. However, neither has seen the success of Flutie Flakes. Anyone curious about Mahomes Magic Crunch can still find it on Amazon – Gronk Flakes are relegated to the dusty shelves of eBay.