Saturday, September 11, 2010

New Wheaties Fuel™ Intro Features Grim-Faced Guys for Man-Marketing.

They’re back – frowning athletes who seem to reflect the idea that sport is serious business. The cop-an-attitude that turns sporting events into gang rumbles or combat maneuvers is now on every box of Wheaties Fuel, the newly evolved “delicious honey cinnamon crunch!”

General Millis is rolling out the new generation of Wheaties, the first cereal admittedly marketed to men. This probably explains why the creative consultants for the new breakfast yummy* are high-performance celebrities from a variety of sports...all men.

As a marketer, I get the need to evolve the Wheaties brand. I love niche-marketing to men after decades of skewing in the other direction. And I cheerfully admit that the cereal-maker is making a valiant attempt to capture the macho/humorous appeal of the light beer advertisers – for this, watch the videos on the website.

I think what I’m reacting to, since a sample box arrived with my morning paper, is the imagery of the frown. I’ve been watching it grow for years, infecting first the photos of high school footballers who, at 16 or 17, keep glaring out of the newspapers like they’re carrying pistols in their pockets. This has shaded over into the current iconography of some women’s teams, too, from fast-pitch softballers to high-school lacrosse players.

Prospectively, there were other avenues the Wheaties product-line people could have explored (there’s an admittance of experimentation in the marketing materials). But the “brooding look” created by Minneapolis ad agency Boom Island goes beyond the joy of winning into the dour realm of do-or-die-trying.

Now I put an asterisk (*) by the word “yummy” above because, when I finish this post, I’m headed to the breakfast table to try the latest version of The Breakfast of Champions, wherein the third listed ingredient is…sugar, the sixth is honey and the 11th is brown sugar syrup.

Hell, no wonder these guys are glaring. Their teeth hurt.


S Reeves said...

I picked up the" video box design look" cereal this morning to check out the ingredients and was disappointed to see so much sugar - now in marketing speak "FUEL".

Can't say it looked appetizing but, the guy in the house will try it.

Richard Laurence Baron said...

Thanx for the word back, Susan - will you tell me box price/size? Curious. I tried the definitely has a huge FUEL taste!

Becci Himes said...

I have to agree with you, Richard. The look is scary. Not sexy, gangsta. I have always disliked the Nike "Just do it." campaign for that reason. It seems snide and bullying to me. But then, I'm a girl.