How a Package Coding Nerd Bet Big, and Won

Movie adaptation tells the real-life story of Kellogg retiree Jerry Selbee and his wife Marge, who exploit a flaw in the lottery and win millions.

Lisa McTigue Pierce, Executive Editor

July 15, 2022

A new movie shows how a career in packaging might make you rich. Now streaming on Paramount+, Jerry & Marge Go Large is about a retired Kellogg’s line manager who used his math skills to win lotteries.

Based loosely on a real story, Jerry & Marge Go Large stars A-list actors Bryan Cranston (of Breaking Bad fame) and Annette Bening, who play Jerry Selbee and his wife Marge.

According to an article in the Battle Creek Enquirer, Selbee honed his analytical skills by puzzling out the manufacturing codes printed on boxes of cereal for a competitor.

“Jerry had a knack for puzzles and, while working for Kellogg, he noticed the code stamped on the bottom of General Mills cereal boxes.

“And he cracked it, allowing him to trace any box of General Mills cereal back to the date, time and plant of its creation. ‘Back in the early ’60s they didn’t put just a date on it for expiration, they put some letters and numbers on it,’ Selbee said. ‘Kellogg executives may or may not have known that code, they never told me. I just figured it out on my own.’”

Reviews have mostly been positive, with a 65% Tomatometer score on Rotten Tomatoes, but a 78% audience score.

Granted, the packaging angle might be thin, but who knows how many people watching this movie will consider or explore an exciting career in packaging after seeing it — which is the real treasure, right??!

About the Author(s)

Lisa McTigue Pierce

Executive Editor, Packaging Digest

Lisa McTigue Pierce is Executive Editor of Packaging Digest. She’s been a packaging media journalist since 1982 and tracks emerging trends, new technologies, and best practices across a spectrum of markets for the publication’s global community. Reach her at [email protected] or 630-272-1774.

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