Back in 1955, the marketing execs for Quaker Puffed Rice and Puffed Wheat came up with an ingenious way to sell breakfast cereal. They bought 19.11 acres of land on the Yukon River in Canada. Then they divided up the land into 21 million square-inch plots and gave away deeds for these 1-inch plots inside the cereal boxes, which flew off the shelves.
Over at creators.com
, Malcolm Berko tells what happened next:
Nobody at Quaker Oats could have anticipated the mass idiocy of American consumers. One guy had over 10,000 deeds and wanted to convert them into one single piece of property that would be a little less than a quarter-acre. And Quaker received thousands of letters from consumers who wanted to mine their 1 square inch for gold. However, mineral rights were not included in the deeds, and if gold would have been discovered, it would not have accrued to the deed holders.
Quaker Oats never paid taxes on the Yukon land, so in 1965 the Canadian government reclaimed it. Which means that anyone who still has one of those land deeds no longer has any claim to the tiny plot of land. However, the deeds themselves have appreciated considerably in value as collector's items.
I've previously posted about a similar publicity stunt:
when MGM gave away, in 1947, 1-acre plots of New Mexico desert in order to promote the movie The Sea of Grass
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Want to "buy property" on the Moon or Mars? The folks at the Lunar Federation
will happily separate you from your cash.
offers a collection of cemeteries located in parking lots: patches of grass in seas of asphalt. I believe in every case the cemetery predates the parking lot. The graves simply had the misfortune of being surrounded by strip malls.