While the idea for animal crackers came from England, it was Stauffer’s that produced the first animal crackers in the United States in 1871. The factory was in York, PA. While Stauffer’s are the original in the U.S., Nabisco’s animal crackers may be the most famous. In 1902, Nabisco jumped into the animal cracker business. They used the Barnum name from the famous circus for their animal crackers. These snacks were put in boxes resembling train cars with animals caged in them. They featured a string across the top of the box.
Partnership with the Circus
For Nabisco and for the circus, this was a win, especially when the circus was popular. Both companies benefitted from the advertising they did for each other. Barnum and Bailey’s became a household name and was later combined with Ringling Bros. Children would be familiar with the circuses through the animal cracker boxes.
Rumor has it that the string across the top of the box was to enable it to be sed as a Christmas tree ornament. Of course, children have always used it as a handle, but giving it another use would encourage more to be sold around the holidays.
Box It Up
Before animal crackers were put in boxes, they were sold in bulk from a cracker barrel. A box makes it more convenient to carry and store. It also divides it up into quantities that children don’t have to share and gives the product extra ways to be used – Christmas tree ornament and train set. At least until society changed.
Circuses on the Out
As people became aware of the practices that circuses used to keep and train their animals, circuses lost their appeal as a family event and activity. In 2018, Nabisco changed with the times and went from a circus train box to a cage-free box. That doesn’t mean that their crackers are cage free – where would they go if they were? But it does give parents the opportunity to talk to their children about animals, why they are endangered and what can be done about it.
A Teaching Tool
Animal crackers can be used as a teaching tool for young children. With these snacks, they can learn to identify animals and sort them based on different criteria. But are animal crackers cookies or crackers? You’ll need to read another post to find out.
Changing your products or services are a part of business creativity. The changes to the Nabisco’s animal crackers box, special packaging to celebrate certain animals or raise awareness, and ways to create higher visibility and more sales are all part of a good business approach. Getting more out of what you buy is part of personal creativity. Using your animal crackers to teach children about animals is something that is creative. If you want to learn more about creativity, follow this blog. Join our Patreon for more tips on improving your creativity, and check out these books: “Disneyland Is Creativity,” “The Haunted Mansion Is Creativity,” and “Penguinate! Positive Creativity.”