First, there could be ballads. There are hundreds and hundreds of them in existence, all of them public property by now. Men always wish, covertly or otherwise, that they knew a string of ballads. However, it is rare to find even an accurate printing of even the most famous of them. “Young Charlotte,” “Jesse James,” “Casey Jones,” “Springfield Mountain,” “The Face on the Barroom Floor,” and a thousand others are in current knowledge, but few are the people who have read all of them or any of them. On the shelf, the housewife finds the old, familiar package, somewhat changed by the box printing which barely shows through. She buys, as usual, but when she gets home she tears off the printed translucent wrapper and finds something worth looking at. In colorful modern watercolor there are the pertinent scenes in “Casey Jones” or “The Highwayman” or some similar piece. Then, spaced to run on the four sides in order are the verses of the ballad, running around and about the pictures. The kids are entranced. They’ve never dreamed that any such rhyme existed and they go to school and play highwayman or railroad engineer. Papa always had a sneaking hunch he’d like to know that thing and so, there he sits, memorizing it as he munches. And when that one is gone, there is another ballad on another box. If these are done by a good artist in watercolor or woodcut, the result would be quite welcome on any tablecloth. And that, after all, is the thing for which your ad men are working. Then, in this case especially, there is a chance for much free publicity for do not think that magazines such as LIFE would fail to pick up such an interesting angle on merchandising.
Then, for those who might wish to vary the routine, they could see a classical series. You could run a series of famous dramatic paintings on your box with a very, very short description of the picture. The paintings of American history now on display in Washington furnish endless material and, further, mama might like Willie to know his history better and papa really should review it a trifle through such a very pleasant medium. Schoolteachers would be very glad of such a source. And those paintings are not exactly eyesores.
There could follow a dramatization of inventions done rather in illustration style than in the comic strip harshness usually used on such things. The point throughout is to produce on a box a harmonious blend which would place the cereal on the table instead of in bowls before it went to the table. At the bottom, on a colored strip, the cereal’s name could be displayed.
There is little use to enumerate the number of things which could be essayed, all achieving the same effect.
Not to be discounted is the psychological effect on the consumer. Digestive and mental functions are closely interlocked. Corn flakes could, in no better way, become synonymous for bravery and gallantry. Anything blatantly approached sooner or later deadens itself by its very commotion. But this is no obvious attempt.
If the function of packaging is to sell more merchandise and to place the merchandise itself upon a higher level, then the double printing of wrapper and box would wipe out its added cost ten times over by the goodwill created. And such a package, I trust, could be protected by process of patent or copyright.
Wishing you success in the New Year, I am,
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