Owning One Inch of the Yukon

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.

     Posted By: Alex - Sat May 28, 2016
     Category: Real Estate | 1950s

I owned an inch of somewhere but it wasn't, I don't think, the Yukon. It might have been the moon. No sense pleasuring a bad idea.
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 05/28/16 at 09:41 AM
They could have followed up by selling little gold mining equiptment -- sized for the 1 sq.inch land -- and made a killing.
Posted by Virtual on 05/28/16 at 01:21 PM
Sweetheart...? It's not one inch of the Yukon, but I think it likes you!
Posted by Greg on 05/28/16 at 08:46 PM
We got one of these and as usual, there was a fight for it amongst us brothers, so again as usual, mom took it away and put it up. Long gone by now.
Posted by GFinKS on 05/31/16 at 11:55 AM
Jack Daniels has had a promotion for years where you are appointed a Tennessee Squire and given a deed to a square inch of the distillery. If you ever visit it, in Lynchburg, TN, and ask one of the tour guides about locating your land, he will wave in the general direction of one of the surrounding hills and proclaim that "I'm sure it's just over there."
Posted by John on 06/13/16 at 11:44 PM
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