Lucky Charms is a breakfast cereal brand manufactured by General Mills since 1964. The cereal comprises multicolored marshmallows and shaped crushed oat bits that each resemble one of several objects or symbols connected with good luck. But how did Lucky Charms cereal come to be?
John Holahan, a General Mills employee, got the concept after going to the grocery store and deciding to mix Cheerios with crumbs of Brach’s Circus peanuts.
The Perfect Combination
General Mills posed a challenge to its team: design a unique new cereal using the same manufacturing capacity as two of their popular cereals, Wheaties and Cheerios. Lucky Charms was created when one of the product creators experimented with blending Cheerios with a treat called Circus Peanuts.
The version that first hit the market was not the Lucky Charms that Americans would come to know and love. The cereal was not sugar-coated and did not sell as well as General Mills had intended. The cereal began to sell significantly better when that layer of sweetness was introduced. Lucky Charms became a household name thanks to the new formula and an extended marketing push.
Although General Mills has created additional variations of Lucky Charms, the original formula has stayed unchanged. They debuted Chocolate Lucky Charms in 2005, and Lucky Charms Marshmallow Treats reached grocery store shelves in 2012. (Source: Snack History)
The Lucky ‘Charms’
An advertising business suggested that the marshmallow bits, or marbits, as they were dubbed when they were trademarked in 1968, be converted into multicolored shapes. They were inspired by charm bracelets, which were popular at the time. The original Lucky Charms charms were pink hearts, yellow moons, orange stars, and green clovers. (Source: Snack History)
Lucky the Leprechaun
Lucky Charms has always had a captivating mascot, a leprechaun dubbed L.C. Sir Charms and Lucky the Leprechaun are two names given to a leprechaun. Lucky served as the national mascot until 1975 when he was replaced in New England by a character known as Waldo the Wizard. Waldo was a friendly magician who may be a little forgetful. While he performed well in market research, Lucky the Leprechaun beat him out and eventually became the national mascot once more.
Arthur Anderson voiced Lucky the Leprechaun until 1992, after which he was replaced by a series of actors, including Eric Bauza, Tex Brashear, Jason Graae, Doug Preis, and Daniel Ross.
Lucky Charms advertisements with the leprechaun all have the same theme: Lucky utilizes all of his magical skills to keep hungry children from stealing his cereal, or, as he exclaims, are always after me Lucky Charms.
General Mills announced in 2008 that Lucky’s powers are linked to Lucky Charms’ marbits. The heart grants the leprechaun the capacity to bring things to life, the star gives him the ability to fly, and the clover gives him luck. Other magical charms include the horseshoe, which allows Lucky to speed up time. The blue moon offers him invisibility, and the balloons, give him the ability to make things float. (Source: Snack History)
The Lucky Slogan
Lucky Charms had a signature phrase for many years: Frosted Lucky Charms; they’re wonderfully delightful, sung to a simple Irish song. The first sentence was usually chanted by children, and the second by Lucky the Leprechaun. Later commercials embellished the jingle with descriptions of the era’s charms. (Source: Snack History)