You are what you eatBy Tom Dougherty
Success always leaves clues. You find the winning formula for success in Wheaties Cereal. It’s never been a “candy” cereal marketed by a singular spokes figure (like Cap’n Crunch or Snap, Crackle, and Pop). Wheaties sold its BRAND.
You can find a detailed market study on the demise of Breakfast cereals here, but this short note is on the genius of Wheaties.
They talked about the health benefits, natural ingredients, and taste. But Wheaties sold a brand— in the sense that Stealing Share defines it. A brand reflects the target audience as they USE (eat) it. When properly created, it represents an aspirational view of the customer—something they covet and desire.
In this case, as it would be decades later with NIKE , it was about being a winner. If you want the healthiest breakfast, you might choose shredded Wheat (steel wool in my book) or Grape Nuts. As odd as it may seem, a winner trumped being healthy.
A brand challenge
Wheaties— the breakfast of champions is a proposition. It asks not only what you wish to be but explains who you believe you are—a champion.
A pretty cool and compelling understanding of the persuasive power of a brand. For generations, adults and kids began their day with a box of Wheaties on their table.
Emblazoned on the box illuminated a long list of champions from professional baseball to tennis. Boxing to golf. Heroes from the Olympics, amateur sports, and professional ranks.
Like you, I never was good enough for any professional sport. I could not qualify for an Olympic team, but I sat every morning as a kid… believing I was a champion.