Cheerios: Guess Who’s Coming to Breakfast…

General Mills Millenium Penny Press kit and the 1999 General Mills logo

General Mills 1999 Logo


Cheerios Millennium Penny

General Mills

The Lowdown

To announce the historic arrangement with the United States Mint to offer the first Millennium Pennies and Golden Dollars in all six varieties of Cheerios cereal boxes, DKY created a “penny press kit.”

Fun Fact

DKY found an Abe Lincoln lookalike from California and flew him in for a photo shoot at a Twin Cities residence. He was an official member of the Association of Lincoln Presenters who had in recent years started to look more and more like Abe Lincoln. At the urging of his wife and friends, he embraced his changing physical appearance and committed himself to the memory of our 16th president.

Y2K We Did It

General Mills contracted 10 million Lincoln pennies and 5,500 Sacagawea golden dollar coins with the US Mint in Philadelphia ahead of the new millennium. Each specially-marked Cheerios box held a millennium penny and every 2,000th box included an additional new Sacagawea golden dollar. To announce this special promotion, General Mills asked DKY to produce a standout press kit that would capture the attention of editors.

What We Did

Given that the promotion was all about a special coin, we decided to make a circular press kit. This required the engagement of many vendors and posed some interesting production challenges. In the end, the press kit contained a printed circular brochure with coin samples atop a foam-filled cavity that held a Betacam tape of b-roll footage featuring our Abe Lincoln look alike.

General Mills Millenium Penny Press kit
General Mills Millenium Penny Press kit

How We Brought It All Together

  • A New York-based hat box company that could produce a copper-colored round box
  • A printer that could produce and apply a clear circular sticker atop the hat box lid
  • A different printer that could die cut a circular-shaped brochure, bind multiple pages, and hot glue several slides. (For you digital natives, yes, we sent physical slides – like your grandpa’s vacation pics of Niagara Falls – as a key deliverable in press releases!)
  • A foam manufacturer that could produce a custom-sized piece of circular foam with a hollowed-out section to hold the Beta tape
  • A photographer to shoot the images of Abe Lincoln with kids (who incidentally were two of my kids on loan from school that day)

A Piece of History

You can still find these Cheerios coins for sale online. As of the date of this writing, prices online ranged from $40 to $3,000 – for a US penny!

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