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Life is a breakfast cereal formerly made solely of whole grain oats, but now also containing sugar, corn flour, whole wheat flour, and rice flour. It was introduced in 1961 by the Quaker Oats Company. The cereal is distinguished by its characteristic checkered squares, with a finer pattern than Chex. Advertisements for Life sport the slogan "Life is full of surprises".
Life was popularized during the 1970s by an advertising campaign featuring "Little Mikey," a hard-to-please four-year-old-boy portrayed by John Gilchrist. His two older brothers were portrayed by his real-life brothers, Michael and Tommy. The commercials featured the catchphrase "He likes it! Hey Mikey!" The ad campaign ran from 1972 to 1986, becoming one of the longest-running television advertisements. As recently as 1999 the commercial was included in a list of "memorable ads". A subsequent commercial repeated the identical dialog and scenario, using lumberjacks instead of children.
Earlier when Life cereal was first introduced, the original slogan was "The most useful protein ever in a ready to eat cereal". The original mascots (in commercials, narrated by Paul Frees) were little munchkin-like characters.
In 1978, Cinnamon Life was introduced, followed shortly thereafter by Raisin Life. Today Cinnamon Life accounts for a third of total Life sales. Raisin Life sold poorly and was discontinued in the mid 1980s. In 2002, a short-lived version called Baked Apple Life was released. Honey Graham Life was introduced in early 2004, Life Vanilla Yogurt Crunch in late 2005, and another new flavor, Life Chocolate Oat Crunch, in 2006. All three were eventually discontinued in 2008. Finally, in 2008 Life introduced another new version, Maple & Brown Sugar Life. In the fall of 2016, Vanilla Life cereal was released and Maple and Brown Sugar has become less likely to be seen on shelves. Some speculate that Vanilla replaced Maple and Brown Sugar. In Canada and certain areas of the United States, there is also Multigrain Life.
Original Life has been reformulated several times since its introduction, most recently in 1997, when Quaker introduced a "New and Improved" version. Consumer response was unfavorable, and Quaker quickly reverted to the original formula.
In 2010, Life was featured on the "Eat This, Not That" website. It was categorized as a healthy cereal but was criticized for its content of the yellow food dye, Tartrazine.
- "About Quaker - Quaker History". QuakerOats.com. 2014-07-17. Retrieved 2016-01-24.
- "Hey Mikey!" 15 years later, Life cereal kid is back, Anchorage Daily News, October 17, 1986
-  Archived June 19, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
- Memorable TV ads riveted us, The Spectator, November 22, 1999
- "FindArticles.com - CBSi". Archived from the original on 13 November 2004. Retrieved 24 January 2016.