We very rarely cover news in the exciting world of cereal marketing here at Ars Technica, so we were unaware until recently that cereal news and review blogs like Cerealously even existed. That said, we were intrigued to find the blog reporting a credible rumor that Kellogg’s is planning to launch a Super Mario-themed cereal—simply called “Super Mario Cereal”—in the near future.
The apparent existence of the mixed berry cereal with power-up shaped marshmallows isn’t that noteworthy on its own (unless you’re a super-fan that’s been waiting for a follow-up to the ’80s Nintendo Cereal System). No, what caught our interest is the reported on-the-box promise that “this box is a special Amiibo—Try it with Super Mario Odyssey“.
A follow-up communication from Kellogg’s reprinted by Cerealously clarifies that “a limited number of packages will have an Amiibo powerup sticker that can be used on the Super Mario Odyssey game with the Nintendo Switch gaming console.” That’s an interesting extension of Nintendo’s existing Amiibo cards line, a less-popular but equally NFC-equipped and functional (for gameplay purposes) version of the Amiibo figurines.
We’ve seen cereal makers give away entire video games in their boxes before, and snack makers have offered cosmetic items and XP bonuses alongside their salty and sugary treats in the past. But we’re pretty sure this is the first time an in-game power-up has been offered in place of the usual cereal box toy.It’s a seeming continuation of Nintendo’s efforts to turn Amiibo into physical DLC, hiding optional game features and even classic game demos behind a tap of a physical Amiibo, rather than just cosmetic costume changes.
While EA and others have been facing an outcry for their “pay-to-win” monetization efforts of late, we don’t think this kind of freebie offer for a boost in a single-player game will elicit the same level of ire from players. Still, reportedly adding power-ups to cereal boxes highlights Nintendo’s continuing extension of the Amiibo brand from “sought-after collectible figures” to “disposable in-game item keys thrown in as marketing freebies.”