Cereal and Chill: What brands can learn from novel cereal brand ‘OffLimits’


Ana Turco-Rivas

Research Manager, New York

To state the obvious: the world feels upside down right now. Nostalgia for times gone-by is greater than ever, and work-from-home adults are seeking an escape from ‘adulting’ during these trying times.

Enter: whimsical healthy cereal for adults.

While you might have been harvesting sourdough, my meals have not exactly been Instagram “post-worthy.” As a grown-up who never learned how to cook, cereal has been my #1 quarantine sustenance.

However, I also belong to the generation that has been bombarded with health-conscious memos for over a decade. I will be the first to admit, I don’t always feel very ‘mindful’ after my bowl of Reese’s Puffs or Cookie Crisp in the morning!

Still, there is something about a bowl of sugary cereal that makes my life better; a perfect remedy for homesickness or a comforting pick-me-up while I start-up my computer.

Introducing OffLimits, a new cereal brand that indulges all of my needs and desires; that is, a sugary cereal that is also healthy, and at the same time makes me feel like a kid again! All of this, while also taking a stance for something greater than itself. #WeWantItAll


Here’s why I love it:

1. Escapism

OffLimits creates a whimsical world for me to escape into in the morning and unwind with at nighttime, via storytelling and quirky characters. Meet Zombie and Dash, OffLimits’ cereal mascots that bring their brand’s stories to life in a cartoonish, fun way. In this world, you can win tickets and prizes, as well as collect toys from the arcade-like ‘toy store.’ In this world, I am a kid again. Sadly, I have outgrown Tony Tiger and Cap’n Crunch. Fortunately, OffLimits offers an adult, contemporary version of cereal cartoon characters – à la Family Guy for breakfast (and dinner)

2. Get with the times

Dash is the first ever female cereal mascot (talk about long overdue) who wears a power-suit + sneakers, and Zombie is her androgynous counterpart who can’t be bothered to get out of bed in the morning

3. Match my mood-swings

OffLimits has two flavors depending on how you are feeling: ‘wired’ or ‘tired’. Dash is the active, caffeine-driven option, while Zombie is the chill, mellow, leave-me-alone kind of vibe. It’s all about the “tongue in cheek, quirky and playful attitude” as well as its “rebellious spirit.” OffLimits just gets me… here is a perfect example:

4. Unexpected adult benefits

Dash’s cereal is equal parts chocolate + coffee which turns my leftover milk into cold brew! Slightly reducing the need for coffee runs throughout the day. While Zombie’s cereal has an exotic ingredient from South-East Asia called ‘Pandan’ which features “chill-inducing adaptogens” – the perfect remedy to 1000 hours of Zoom calls!



5. Societal Side-hustle

OffLimits supports diversity and counterculture by encouraging creative abilities. They have a virtual gallery where artists can share / sell their work, and a portion of the proceeds will help fund after school art programs through ‘Wide Rainbow’. NB the transparency as to how the proceeds are broken down

6. A cohesive (and disruptive) visual brand language

OffLimits has a very considered and cohesive design style across touchpoints – all tied together nicely to feel dynamic and multi-faceted. By way of artful design, it doesn’t feel like a cereal company’s website or Instagram page. OffLimits has created individual personalities that are engaging and worthy of an Instagram follow

7. A delight at my door

As a DTC brand, OffLimits is a convenient little treat-myself moment in times of restraint. My version of a McDonalds Happy Meal – toy included – delivered straight to my door!


8. At this point, the ‘healthy’ part is a given

OffLimits is vegan, gluten-free, low in sugar, and organic – but they don’t have to shout this part out the window. They are so multi-faceted, that the ‘healthy’ part is an expected bonus. The trendy color-blocks and modern design is already telling me this cereal is on-trend with the healthy movement without taking away the fun!

So, what can other brands learn from OffLimits?

Health, but not as we know it

Sometimes saying less is more. Shouting through the roof that your product is healthy, vegan, organic and gluten-free is way overdone (the proof is in the nutrition facts). Sure, it’s easier to do if you’re a fresh start-up, but think of ways in which you can portray ‘healthy’ in a way that is not your main hook

Help us get away

Pandemic times are tough. Create worlds and characters that compel me to go to your website and follow you on Instagram

Be positive and creative

We expect to see creative expression boom after such a period of restraint and limitations. Brands that lighten the mood and don’t take themselves too seriously resonate – countercultures are in!

Find your genuine brand purpose

OffLimits is creative to their core, and in turn support creative causes in the community in a way that feels authentic and unpretentious. If your brand were to speak up, what would they support?

Show real empathy

OffLimits understands mental health by expressing the multi-faceted human nature of our mood-swings. Afterall, it is the work-from-home adults who are drowning their heartache in sugary milk these days, and OffLimits does a great job at speaking to that

I may not be baking sourdough masterpieces or learning to DJ, but maybe my bowl of cereal is social-media-worthy after all!