Thursday, January 19, 2012

Eat Your Wheaties

Sports and advertising have always gone hand-in-hand as companies have consistently turned to clean-living athletes to help boost their image and improve their visibility. That’s particularly evident when you look at the long and storied history of Wheaties.

The so-called “Breakfast of Champions” began its enduring relationship with jocks in 1934 when legendary New York Yankees infielder Lou Gehrig became the first professional athlete to appear on a box of Wheaties. The appearance came 10 years after Wheaties debuted on grocery shelves across America and it produced such encouraging results that the cereal continued to regularly feature baseball players over the next five years. By 1939, Wheaties had become so synonymous with America’s national pastime that 46 of the 51 players selected to the Major League Baseball All-Star Game were official Wheaties pitchmen.

The athlete with the most number of Wheaties appearances, meanwhile, is Michael Jordan. The five-time NBA MVP has appeared on the box 18 times, including three appearances with Dennis Rodman, one of the few players in the world flakier than the cereal itself.

Surprisingly, you don’t have to be a pro athlete to appear on a Wheaties box. The cereal has also turned the spotlight on big-game hunters, airline pilots, explorers, rodeo riders and even livestock breeders. So, maybe there’s hope for you yet!