Ready Brek Glow Adverts from the 1970s and 80s

By Mark Nobes

If there's one advert that almost everyone can remember from back in the day, then it's the Ready Brek ad featuring the glowing kids! This might have been the cold war era, but we weren't nuked, I can assure you, and these children are not radioactive, just warm and healthy!

Back in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Ready Brek was advertised with the slogan "Central heating for kids", and featured at least one child with a radiant orange glow around them. Indeed, I remember actually being convinced that I would glow like a dysfunctional nuclear reactor after eating a bowl of the stuff! Later on in the 80s, the cereal featured the slogan "get up and glow".

Two boys going to school in raincoats. One has an orange glow.

During this time, Ready Break was produced by Lyons and was available in original and chocolate flavours. I actually adored the chocolate version, and although it was supposed to resemble a smooth porridge, mine just had to be lumpy!

I am unsure of the exact date of the original advert, but it is definitely from the second half of the 1970s. It features two boys walking to school in the pouring rain (which tells you immediately this is a British advert), with one of them glowing orange because he had made the wise decision to eat a bowl of hot and nutritional Ready Brek for breakfast, and not because he had just been on a school trip to Sellafield. The other child looks frozen to the core! Mind you, these were the days when we had proper cold winters, of course.

In the second ad (further down this page), a nursery rhyme is played in which children sing "This is the way we glow to school on a cold and frosty morning". This one first aired in 1982.

The oat-based cereal was launched in 1957 as an instant porridge by J. Lyons & Co., and then in 1969, it was promoted as an instant hot cereal. It has been produced by Weetabix since 1990 and is currently advertised as a "smooth porridge". 

Other flavours of Ready Brek have included golden syrup, butterscotch, toffee, honey, banana, strawberry, gingerbread and butter, but were all discontinued, leaving just the original and chocolate flavours, just like back in the 70s, which proves the original flavours are always the best!

It also seems that the original ads were the best, too, as the iconic glow actually made a welcome return in a 2018 Ready Brek advert. 

Porridge has seen a resurgence in its popularity in recent years due mainly to its health benefits, which gives me a good excuse to add a large dollop of sugary syrup!

1982 TV advert

A glowing child and his friend with Ready Brek logo