The forgotten Lucky Charms mascot
This year, Lucky Charms cereal marks 50 years of magical deliciousness. But did you know that Lucky almost didn’t make it past his 11th birthday?
Nearly 40 years ago, Lucky was considered expendable and briefly got his pink slip, at least in New England.
He was replaced by Waldo, the imperfect wizard who was absent-minded, but nice to children.
“Waldo’s endearing quality was his forgetfulness linked with wordplay. Kids like to see human qualities in characters,” says Alan Snedeker, who created Waldo while working for New York ad agency Dancer Fitzgerald Sample from 1964 to 1985.
While Lucky’s catchphrase was, “They’re magically delicious,” Waldo called Lucky Charms “ibbledebibbledelicious.”
And in every commercial, Waldo lost his box of Lucky Charms and had to find it.
In market tests in New England, Waldo and another one of his creations beat Lucky hands down. Lucky was vulnerable. “My work beat Lucky twice in tests,” Snedeker says.
Snedeker actually created Waldo as the mascot for another cereal, Amazin’ Raisins, which never saw the light of day. “Waldo was created and pronounced dead around 1970,” he says. “A few years later, I was involved with Lucky Charms and brought Waldo back to life.”
In 1975, the two Lucky Charms cereal mascots coexisted – Waldo in New England and Lucky in the rest of the U.S. In some of the television spots, Snedeker says he made Lucky “more friendly,” which may have led to Waldo’s demise.
“In making Lucky nicer, I probably killed Waldo,” he admits.
After less than a year, Lucky returned. Goodbye, Waldo.
Waldo is now a footnote in cereal mascot history and about the only place you’ll find him today is in the General Mills Archives with his unkempt hair, a green wizard cap and gown, bow tie and black sneakers.
If he’s still looking for that lost box of Lucky Charms he could try looking at the end of Lucky the leprechaun’s rainbow.
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