It was a corporate promotion gone horribly wrong.
In 2004, Kellogg’s ran a contest in South Korea to determine the “President of Chex,” pitting two suggested cereal flavors against each other. The winner would be declared the president and the flavored cereal would become a reality.
But the fix was in. Kellogg’s put a sweet, chocolaty flavor with a cute mascot called Chekkie up against a harsh, green onion flavor with a mascot called Chaka. Obviously the South Korean kids would pick the sweet flavor and the cute figure, and then buy boxes of the cereal by the millions. But they didn’t. Or at least, throngs of people on the internet didn’t.
Kellogg’s executives watched as the green monster Chekkie cruised toward victory, even after the company deleted 42,000 online votes. Eventually, Kellogg’s discarded enough votes for Chaka to win and become the president, but South Koreans don’t forget. For 16 long years, Chekkie has remained in their collective consciousness, rearing his head often on social media.
Part of the problem with Chekkie winning was that Kellogg’s had no idea how to make a cereal that tastes like green onion, but they recently developed one. When they asked for 50 volunteer tasters, more than 14,000 people signed up. Now at long last, the cereal is available.
Kellogg’s isn’t certain it will sell a lot of the flavor to kids for breakfast, but they do think it’s possible South Korean adults will eat the cereal as a snack with beer.
Currently, there are no plans to bring it to the States.