March 18, 2017
In 2010, Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment released what would become the first film in a franchise: Despicable Me. The movie centered on supervillain Gru (Steve Carrell) who adopted three girls, Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), Edith (Dana Gaier) and Agnes (Elsie Fisher), as a means to further his own sinister plans against rival villain, Vector (Jason Segel). But, when Vector kidnapped the girls, Gru had grown to realize he genuinely cared for them and set out to rescue them. While the sequel, Despicable Me 2, would continue the adventures of Gru and his new family, there was no doubt that the breakout stars of the film were Gru’s little yellow minions—known as Minions (primarily voiced by Pierre Coffin, who also co-directed the films).
The Minions are smaller than humans, have one or two eyes, and primarily wear goggles, overalls, boots and gloves. They speak in nonsensical “Minionese,” derived from Bahasa Indonesia, French, English, Italian, Spanish and Hindi, and serve only to serve someone else. Serving as the primary comic relief of the Despicable Me films, the Minions became the mascots for the franchise; used in promotions, merchandise, commercials and more. In 2015, the Minions got their own movie, Minions, which showcased their lives just before they met Gru.
As part of the promotional tie-in to the film, General Mills acquired the license to produce a limited-edition cereal based on the characters. Minions Cereal was a banana berry flavored cereal comprised of square pieces with images of the primary Minions, Kevin, Stuart and Bob (who were also featured on the box), stamped onto them (although, the stamps didn’t always come through clearly). The flavoring, while could be said to have been partially selected due to the Minions’ coloring, actually fit the characters’ love of fruits. While other General Mills cereals featured free Minion toys, Minions Cereal itself had no premiums. Instead, it came with a “spot the difference” game on the back of the box showing two images of the Minions in New York City.