June 28, 2011
There's a new entry in the world of CFL breakfast cereals, but it's from the same team. Following their 2010 smash hit with the "Fantuz Flakes" cereal (pictured at right) featuring Saskatchewan Roughriders' receiver Andy Fantuz, which sold out in hours and even spawned parody commercials, Federated Co-op stores in Saskatchewan are going to be selling "Dari-O's" starting July 5. The Dari-O's will feature Roughriders' quarterback Darian Durant (pictured above in 2010 trying to evade Winnipeg's Doug Brown), the CFL's 2010 passing yardage leader and a logical replacement for Fantuz, who left for the NFL's Chicago Bears in February. The Regina Leader-Post's Rob Vanstone commented last year that Durant really should have been the first Roughrider to have his face on a box.
Durant had to wait a year, but if the success Fantuz had is any indication, it may yet work out well for him. The 24,000 boxes of Fantuz Flakes produced sold out in just seven hours last year, and there's sure to be lots of demand for Dari-O's. Saskatchewan remains the merchandising capital of the CFL, and plenty of Rider fans will be eager to pick up this kind of memorabilia. Moreover, Fantuz went on to lead the CFL in receiving with 1,380 yards last season, becoming the first Canadian to do so since fellow University of Western Ontario alumnus Dave Sapunjis pulled off the feat in 1995 with Calgary. The Roughriders have suffered some tough losses heading into this season, including Fantuz and fellow receiver Rob Bagg, but if Durant can improve his performance even further via a cereal bump, things might just work out well for them.
Of course, Durant isn't the first CFL quarterback to have his face on a cereal box, but the most famous one did it after his time in the CFL was over. That would be legendary quarterback Doug Flutie, who starred with the B.C. Lions, Calgary Stampeders and Toronto Argonauts before heading south of the border to join the NFL's Buffalo Bills. While there in 1998, he came out with Flutie Flakes (pictured at right), which became hugely popular and appeared everywhere from the NFL's sidelines (where Miami Dolphins coach Jimmy Johnson stomped on them after beating Flutie's Bills) to The Jay Leno Show (where they were dumped on Leno's head) to Friends (where they appeared at the start of "The One With The Blind Dates). We'll see if Dari-O's can gain that kind of popular culture traction north of the border; perhaps they can be dumped on George Stroumboulopoulos, Peter Mansbridge or Michael Landsberg, or make an appearance on Republic of Doyle?
Seriously, though, this is a neat merchandising idea, and it's no wonder these were so popular the first time around. Perhaps other CFL teams should take inspiration and come out with their own competing brands of quarterback-based cereals? We could have Lulay Loops in B.C., Burris Bran in Calgary, Ray's Krispies in Edmonton, Pierce's Puffs in Winnipeg, Glenn's Grahams in Hamilton, Lemon's Life in Toronto, and Captain Calvillo in Montreal. Until the rest of the CFL jumps on this merchandising train, though, it looks like green will be the colour, and Dari-O's the food.