In a 2008 comparison of the nutritional value of 27 cereals, U.S. magazine Consumer Reports found that Golden Crisp and Kellogg's Honey Smacks were the two brands with the highest sugar content—more than 50 percent (by weight)—commenting that one serving of this or other high-sugar cereals contained at least as much sugar "as there is in a glazed doughnut from Dunkin' Donuts". The two cereals are both sweetened puffed wheat. Consumer Reports recommended parents to choose cereal brands with better nutritional ratings for their children.
The advertisements feature its mascot, an anthropomorphic cartoon bear character known as Sugar Bear, who sings the jingle, "Can't get enough of that Golden Crisp." In the 1980s, Sugar Bear could turn into "Super Bear" upon eating it, and the jingle was appended, "it's got the crunch with punch". Sugar Bear's voice, provided by Gerry Matthews for forty years, was reminiscent of Bing Crosby or Dean Martin.
Golden Crisp has undergone drastic changes in marketing over the years, including changing the name from Sugar Crisp to Super Sugar Crisp to Super Golden Crisp (during a time when many cereals dropped the word "Sugar" from their titles) to the current name. The focus of advertising shifted from targeting children to including parents, by downplaying the sweet taste (and associated sugar content).
In the late 1970s, there was a short-lived variation on the original Sugar Crisp, called Super Orange Crisp, which had orange-flavored O's in it. It was found to contain almost 71 percent pure sugar by dentist Ira Shannon in 1975 when, tired of seeing so many cavities in his patients' mouths, bought hundreds of boxes of sugary breakfast cereal and analyzed the contents of each in a lab.
The product is still sold as Sugar Crisp in Canada. In Canada, the box still displays Sugar Bear and the phrase "Can't get enough of that Sugar Crisp."
- The theme song was referenced in The Simpsons episode "Treehouse of Horror X" segment titled "I Know What You Diddly-Iddly Did" Homer sings to the tune of the Golden Crisp theme "Guess I forgot to put the fog lights in," just prior to Marge hitting a werewolf Flanders with the car.
- Better cereal choices for kids? Some child-focused products are 50 percent sugar consumerreports.org (Accessed October 2, 2008)
- Super Orange Crisp, short-lived spin-off cereal.
- Moss, Michael. "Is It Cereal or Candy?" Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us. New York: Random House, 2013. 73-74.