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Thinking Out Of The Box

Cap'n Crunch, eat your heart out! These guys got celebrity endorsers to pose for their cereal boxes-and now they've got big aisle-space clout!

By Michelle Prather

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Among the dense sea of flakes, puffs and Os, indecisive eyesscan cereal-box greats like Tony the Tiger-Kellogg's47-year-old spokesperson for Frosted Flakes-and whoever happens tobe the latest inspirational athlete to grace the face of GeneralMills' renowned Wheaties. Now novelty favorites like FlutieFlakes, produced by Pittsburgh's PLB Sports Inc., a foodmarketing company that introduces products featuring pro athletes,are stealing some of that morning spotlight-and making competitioneven more fierce in the picking process-with boxes featuringathletic heroes both young and old. So where do Jason Bauer andMichael Simon, founders of New York City's Famous Fixins Inc.,yet another distributor and manufacturer of athlete- andcelebrity-affiliated food products, come in? Especially when-well,let's face it-it's been done? Let's just say"celebrity" is the operative word.

Sure, PLB had a leg up on Famous Fixins in the breakfastdepartment. PLB released Buffalo Bill quarterback Doug Flutie'scereal (with sales supporting the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation forAutism) about a year before the latter released Baltimore Oriolesthird baseman Cal Ripken Jr.'s Cal's Classic O's cerealearly last year. But even though they weren't the first onesout of the gate, self-proclaimed "sports junkies" Bauer,30, and Simon, 31, have gotten top players from top teams to signwith them-and these are athletes with household names. Of course,Bauer and Simon have had some practice. The two in-troduced 1987Academy Award winner Olympia Dukakis' Greek Salad Dressings tosupermarkets in 1997. And they had a few connections, too.

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