Quaker Oats Yukon Land Deal - During the 1950s
the Quaker Oats Company who sponsored the northwest adventure SERGEANT
PRESTON OF THE YUKON/CBS/1955-58 gave away one-inch plots of Yukon land as
an incentive to buy their cereals.
Deal Deed (Front and Back)
Compared to the trivial plastic rings, whistles and planes that were offered
as premiums by competing companies, the Yukon land deal won hands down,
causing a mini "land rush" to the local supermarkets which sold an estimated
21 million boxes of Quaker Oats products.
It all began on January 27, 1954 when a nationwide newspaper advertisement
read: "Get a real deed to one-square-inch of land in the Yukon gold rush
country...You'll actually own one-square-inch of Yukon land."
Becoming a land owner was as simple as buying a box of Quaker Oats Puffed
Wheat, Puffed Rice or Shredded Wheat. Inside each box you'd find a "Deed of
Land" from the "Klondike Big Inch Land Company." By signing your name on the
deed you instantly became a mini-property owner.
The land in question was located on a 19.11 acre plot of land three miles
upstream from Dawson City, Canada at Sunnydale Slough. The land (with 640
feet of riverfront & 1,301 feet deep) was officially known as Lot 243, Group
2 (now Group 1052) in the records of the Yukon Registrar of Land Titles.
The property was purchased for $1,000 at the suggestion of Chicago
advertising man, Bruce Baker (of Wherry, Baker & Tilden) who sold the idea
to Quaker Oats, perhaps the greatest product promotion in history.
Some years after the excitement of the ad campaign wore off and thousands of
deeds lay dusty in attics, trunks, and bedroom drawers nationwide, the land
given away in the promotion reverted back to the Canadian Government on
January 22, 1965 for nonpayment of $37.20 in taxes.
Some amusing outgrowths of the ad campaign included two men from Cedar
Rapids declaring their four-square-inch share of Yukon Territory to be a
"free & independent" sovereignty and henceforth to be known as the "Republic
of Xanadu," and a young enterprising boy sent Quaker Oats a string and four
tooth picks and asked them to fence in his land. Today, the deeds are
worthless except to a collector of memorabilia.
Ottawa-based filmmaker David McDonald, who owned a
few inches of land in the 1950s, investigated the story of the Yukon
Land Deal on a 2007 History Television documentary entitled
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