The Quaker Oats Boss Who Stood Up for Cap’n Crunch
If you're a fan of Cap’n Crunch you might very well owe Mr. Mason a big thank you.
In the ‘70s the executive defended our Cap'n to the FTC, by pointing out that a "banana had more sugar than a serving of his sweetened cereal", He also reminded them that even a sweetened cereal is a better breakfast than none at all.
As kids, we loved Cap'n Crunch, even if it did seem to shred the roof of your mouth. It had to stay crunchy in milk, so the soft palate was the one who paid the price.
Mason was hired as Quaker Oats' advertising director in 1962. Cap’n Crunch cereal was introduced in 1963 followed by another successful launch, Crunch Berries in 1967.
Mason was there when Quaker Oats made a bold decision to finance the movie Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. The marketing payoff was very sweet for all parties, to say the least.
And everybody remembers Life cereal’s iconic TV commercial “Hey Mikey, he likes it!“ The TV gem first aired in 1972.
Kenneth Mason became Quaker's president in 1976. And yes, he was a maverick. The Wall Street Journal said Mr. Mason “rejected the view that business existed only to make profits.“
His leadership is evident in this Business Week quote from 1979 when he said “making a profit is no more the purpose of a corporation than getting enough to eat is the purpose of life.“
Sounds like a true maverick. Thanks, Cap'n Kenneth.
Mr. Mason died on September 4, 2019, at the age of 97.