I have long been a big fan of breakfast cereal items, as I’ve written about on this blog. But I was fascinated/mystified by the marketing ploy that surrounded two Quaker Oats cereal products in the mid-1960s, Quisp and Quake.
“They decided to have the two cereals compete against one another in a kind of popularity contest, broadcasting a TV commercial in which the voice-over announcer, Paul Frees, invited viewers at home to decide: ‘Take sides with either – two new cereals from Quaker, sort of a breakfast feud.’
“Each cereal had its own mascot, but they were essentially the same cereal with different shapes and slogans: Quisp was ‘The quisp new cereal from outer space!’ and Quake was ‘The power cereal from inner space!'”
From the Wikipedia:
“The ads were cartoons created by Jay Ward, who also created the cartoon characters Rocky and Bullwinkle,” – I was a big fan of moose and squirrel – “Dudley Do-Right, and many others, and the ads used some of the same voice actors as the Rocky and Bullwinkle series, including Daws Butler as the voice of Quisp (an alien who was the Crown Prince of Planet Q and, like moon men Gidney and Cloyd of Rocky and Bullwinkle, was armed with a scrooch gun) and William Conrad as the voice of Quake (a miner). ”
From Mr. Breakfast:
“Quisp proved to have much more consumer appeal and traditionally beat Quake in sales. Quaker placed the blame on Quake the character.
“In 1967, Quake the burly miner was transformed into a thinner, only-slightly-more-kid-friendly rendition of himself. The miner’s helmet was traded in for an Australian cowboy hat. The change in appearance was explained in ads by a story line in which Quake entered a ‘new and improver machine’. Gears and automated boxing gloves plummeted the large character until he emerged from the machine thinner (and with a new hat).
“Despite efforts to make Quake less daunting, Quisp continued its reign as the more popular cereal.”
“In the late 1970s, Quisp was discontinued due to low sales. It was brought back in the mid-1980s, then again in the 1990s and in 2001, where it was relaunched as the “first Internet cereal”. Consumers were encouraged to visit the Quisp Web site to view animated endings to cartoons on the back of the cereal box.
“Quisp has remained in limited distribution, with Quaker Oats distributing the product in ‘guerrilla displays’ that would appear in a store and last until the product sold out… Quaker Oats also sells Quisp directly to the public through an online store.” But Quake has never been revived.
I found Quisp on Amazon, in multipacks of 3, 4, 6 or 12 8.5 ounce boxes.
About the product –
Excellent source of 7 essential vitamins
I’m TEMPTED to order it, out of base curiosity.
ABC Wednesday, Round 20