Companies in the United States have used promotional items, or premiums, to sell their products since the late 1700s. However, Kellogg’s popularized the technique in the early 1900s.
During the 1930s and 40s, premiums were closely associated with popular radio programs such as the Lone Ranger and Little Orphan Annie. Later premiums capitalized on popular movies and TV shows.
For generations, children have waited impatiently for the mail to arrive with their new decoder ring, baking soda powered Frogmen, or nuclear powered submarine – with real diving action.
Today, premiums are more often associated with drive-through windows, but baby boomers still treasure memories of sending away their box tops, or digging into a freshly opened box of cereal, in search of the coveted prize.