The famous Lucky the Leprechaun wasn’t always the public face of Lucky Charms cereal. In 1975, General Mills experimented with a different mascot: Waldo the Wizard. He was a cheerful, absent-minded wizard who liked children. Like me, I guess. There’s no reason why General Mills briefly tried another mascot, but once they say the postive feedback from test audiences, it was set.
Test audiences responded favorably to Waldo–they even liked him better than Lucky. Monte Olmstead writes for the General Mills blog:
“Waldo’s endearing quality was his forgetfulness linked with wordplay. Kids like to see human qualities in characters,” says Alan Snedeker, who created Waldo while working for New York ad agency Dancer Fitzgerald Sample from 1964 to 1985.
While Lucky’s catchphrase was, “They’re magically delicious,” Waldo called Lucky Charms “ibbledebibbledelicious.”
And in every commercial, Waldo lost his box of Lucky Charms and had to find it.
In market tests in New England, Waldo and another one of his creations beat Lucky hands down. Lucky was vulnerable. “My work beat Lucky twice in tests,” Snedeker says.
In 1975, the two Lucky Charms cereal mascots coexisted – Waldo in New England and Lucky in the rest of the U.S. In some of the television spots, Snedeker says he made Lucky “more friendly,” which may have led to Waldo’s demise.
“In making Lucky nicer, I probably killed Waldo,” he admits.
After less than a year, Lucky returned. Goodbye, Waldo.