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Life is a breakfast cereal formerly made of whole grain oats, but now also containing corn flour, whole wheat flour, and rice flour. It is distributed by the Quaker Oats Company. It was introduced in 1961. The cereal's advertisements currently sport the slogan "Life is full of surprises". The Canadian product may be different, containing in 2015 20% sugar and "100% Canadian Quaker Oats."
Life was popularized during the 1970s by an advertising campaign featuring "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 wasn't as popular and was discontinued sometime 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 Canada and certain areas of the United States, there is also Multigrain Life.
Original Life has been reformulated several times since its introduction. The most recent event took place in 1998, 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 negatively criticized for its content of the yellow food dye, Tartrazine.
- Package with bar code 0-55577-10522-1 14 Feb. 2015.
- "Hey Mikey!" 15 years later, Life cereal kid is back, Anchorage Daily News, October 17, 1986
- Memorable TV ads riveted us, The Spectator, November 22, 1999
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