Big G Lucky Charms Leprechaun Rings NYSE Bell

In celebration of St. Patrick's Day, Lucky the Leprechaun-the well-known cartoon character that appears on boxes of General Mills' Lucky Charms cereal-began the day of Wall Street trading.

General Mills attempted to bring the luck of the Irish to Wall Street executives on Thursday morning.

Lucky the Leprechaun, the well-known figure that appears on boxes of the company's Lucky Charms cereal, rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange in celebration of St. Patrick's Day.

This is the second consecutive year that the Lucky Charms leprechaun has helped Wall Street to celebrate St. Patrick's Day-but last year he attended a celebratory party rather than ringing the bell.

Golden Valley-based General Mills has long been listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “GIS.”

Following the bell ringing, Lucky and two General Mills marketing executives-Joe Driscoll and Jill Kurzawa-distributed thousands of Lucky Charms samples to New York Stock Exchange employees.

Lucky Charms cereal was created in 1963 by a team that was tasked with using manufacturing capacity from either one of General Mills' principal cereal products at the time-Wheaties and Cheerios-and doing something unique to them, according to General Mills' Web site. The first iteration of Lucky Charms was invented by mixing Cheerios with bits of Kraft Circus Peanuts.

An advertising agency working with General Mills suggested marketing the new cereal around charm bracelets-and that's how the marshmallow charms came about. The mascot, Lucky the Leprechaun, is a cartoon character that was born the same year that the cereal debuted. A General Mills spokeswoman said Thursday that there was a brief period in Lucky Charms' history when a different character represented the brand instead, but Lucky returned by popular demand.

General Mills is Minnesota's eighth-largest public company based on revenue, which totaled $14.8 billion during its most recently completed fiscal year.