March 10, 2011 at 2:41 PM ET
How did a rumored mutiny turn into a charge of cereal killing? Here is the sordid tale of Cap'n Crunch's alleged demise:
A DailyFinance story about the cereal's slow fade into obscurity created an Internet hurricane this week. According to DailyFinance, Quaker Oats and its parent company PepsiCo have scaled back their marketing campaign for the once-popular children's cereal. The good Cap'n looked like he was destined to sail into retirement.
"This is an OUTRAGE" wrote Matt Stafford of Haarlem, Netherlands, in much-thumbs-upped response on Facebook. "What's the shelf life of that stuff? I'll need to buy exactly enough to have a bowl everyday forever."
Don't worry, Quaker says.
"Cap'n Crunch is here to stay," says Quaker spokeswoman Denise Lauer. "In fact, the Cap'n just set sail on a social media journey with a new Facebook page. We launched an official Facebook presence for Cap'n Crunch so our adult consumers can stay up-to-date on all things Cap'n Crunch."
Fans of the sugar-laden cereal can breathe easier, but questions about Crunch's future still remain: Can an unhealthy children's cereal, which is no longer marketed directly to children, succeed solely on adults' nostalgia?
Rumors of the Cap'n's retirement may have bubbled up due to a carefully crafted guerrilla marketing campaign, AdAge reports. With no apparent corporate backing, a Chicago agency called Giant Steps launched a "Where's the Cap'n?" social-media barrage, putting up a website, Twitter feed, Facebook page and distributing "Missing" posters for the Cap'n.
The agency was responding to the odd fact that the Cap'n had no social media presence and was absent from the Quaker website.
The end result of the campaign: A few bloggers got snookered, and adult fans of the cereal released a tidal wave of angry Facebook posts and Twitter tweets.
And what about the cartoon story lines that made the cereal a hit with kids? The original cartoon commercials created by famous animator Jay Ward, of "Rocky and Bullwinkle" fame, live on, thanks to YouTube. Will Cap'n Crunch's animated battle against the Soggies one day resume?