Developed by General Mills product developer John Holahan when he combined on Cheerios cereal and chopped up bits of his favorite candy — Circus Peanuts, Lucky Charms has been a staple American household treat since its launch in 1963. Marshmallows swiftly replaced the circus peanuts in the prototype and a “kiss of sugar” was added to the oats in 1967 after the cereal’s original sales failed to perform at expected levels.
Lucky Charms launched with one on the largest advertising campaigns in history complete with comics, full-color Sunday comics ads and animated commercials. Like many still well-known sugar cereals today, Lucky Charms was developed during a time when manufactures thought that the removal of fiber from wheat aided digestion and made things more healthful (totally incorrect, 1960′s General Mills, totally incorrect). Along with its shelf-mates and predecessors like Kellogg Sugar Smacks (which is 56% sugar by weight), these new sugar cereals were targeted at children with marketing campaigns featuring mascots like Lucky the Leprechaun and the Rice Krispie Elves.
Of the original “marbits” featured in Lucky Charms, pink hearts, yellow moons, orange stars, and green clovers, only the pink heart remains in the cereal. Today’s cereal includes eight “marbits” though the marshmallows are sometimes phased out and changed. Each permanent marshmallow charm is supposed to have a power. After all, they’re magically delicious.
Hearts – the power to bring things to life
Shooting Stars – the power to fly
Horseshoes – the power to speed things up
Clovers - the power of luck, both good and bad luck!
Blue Moons – the power of invisibility
Rainbows – the power to travel place to place instantly
Balloons – the power to make things float
Hourglass – the power to control time