Flashback Friday – The Breakfast of Champions

What do Stone Cold Steve Austin, the 2007 Florida Gators basketball team, Joe DiMaggio and Kristi Yamaguchi all have in common? Well, besides perfectly toned athletic bodies and international fame, they are just four of hundreds of sports celebrities and teams who throughout the years showcased their success by appearing on the front of a Wheaties cereal box.

The cereal Wheaties was first created in 1922 when a Minnesota clinician from a company that soon became General Mills accidently spilled wheat bran mixture onto a hot stove. The high nutritional value and taste of these wheat flakes made this cereal good enough to become mass produced.

Five years later, Wheaties began their association with sports by appearing on a billboard of a minor league baseball team in Minneapolis. When deciding what to write on their billboard, advertising executive Knox Reeves sketched out a box of Wheaties and instantly came up with the phrase “Wheaties— The Breakfast of Champions”. From that point on, the phrase stuck, and the cereal has been marketed as ‘The Breakfast of Champions’ to this day.

Soon after, General Mills decided to showcase a sports celebrity on the front of their Wheaties boxes as part of this marketing strategy, and in 1934, the legendary baseball player, Lou Gehrig, was the first to appear in what would become a rite of passage and measure of success for athletes. From Jesse Owens, Mary Lou Retton and Walter Payton, to Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods and many more in between, sports legends have continuously graced the front cover of Wheaties’ iconic orange boxes.

General Mills has continued to use superstar athletes to market the Wheaties brand. And while the cereal’s taste may not be desirable to every palate, the brand’s classic messaging that emphasizes the importance of physical fitness and healthy nutrition has certainly translated well into the 21st century!


Flashback Friday – He Likes It! Hey Mikey!

Today’s flashback Friday is about a picky little boy who inspired a fifteen-year long advertising campaign.
1960s Life Cereal Box
Before Mikey, Life cereal by Quacker, was focused strictly on promoting a healthy angle. Ads charged with taglines like “Most Useful Protein Ever in a Ready-To-Eat Cereal” to fitness-minded moms and girls trying to keep their “girlish figure” (giggle). It wasn’t until the Doyle, Dane & Bernbach Agency entered the picture that Quacker was convinced they should go in a different direction.

The initial ad in the campaign (seen below) features two brothers who are fighting over who will take the first bite of the healthy cereal their mom bought them. They decide their little brother, Mikey, should do it, convinced he won’t like it because he doesn’t like anything. Low and behold, Mikey likes it! Since this commercial, there have been dozen of Mikeys, each with the same selective palette until the ad campaign’s end in 1987.

So, is this an example of a successful ad campaign? I’d say so. Any campaign that can run for fifteen years must be doing something right.

It also demonstrates a perfect marriage between Doyle, Dane & Bernbach Agency’s push towards making the brand geared more toward children and fun while maintaining Quacker’s health conscious objectives. Since its end in 1987, several healthy cereal brands, like Kix, followed suit and created campaigns that stayed young, fun, and fresh yet maintained a healthy reference point for adults.

What’s your favorite memory of Life cereal? Which Mikey do you think was the best?

Year: 1972-1987
Creator: Doyle, Dane & Bernbach Agency

Flashback Friday – Avoid the Noid!

What happens when you mix a human, a bunny, an evil-villainous plan, and Domino’s pizza? (You can cheat and look at the bottom of the post for a commercial!)

You create Noid and the campaign “Avoid the Noid” by Domino’s Pizza.

Group 243, a marketing firm that Dominos consulted with, created Noid in 1986. The ad campaign, starring Noid, ran until the 90s where it was replaced with a new campaign. Noid has made comebacks in the mid-2000s and even as recently as May 4th, 2011. “What was the purpose of Noid?” you might ask. I’m glad you did.

Avoid the Noid

This is the ultimate super villian, when it comes to pizza, to ever exist!

Noid was a villain in a red suit with distinctive bunny ears. Every time we saw him, he was constantly trying to ruin Domino’s pizza one way or another. Whether it was on a pogo-stick to try and flatten the pizza, or attempting to freeze the pizza, or even trying to de-fame Domino’s Pizza guarantees. The cartoon character was as evil as you can get while being family friendly with some “Tom and Jerry-like” humor.

The “Avoid the Noid” ad campaign was so successful that a computer game was created to accompany the campaign in 1989. This featured the player attempting to deliver a pizza with multiple Noids trying to stop you from doing it within a 30 minute time limit, which was Dominos guaranteed delivery time. Later in 1991, a Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) game called Yo! Noid was created. This game featured Noid fighting his arch enemy throughout New York City trying to earn the ultimate pizza as a reward.

Avoid the Noid Computer Game

The famous Avoid the Noid computer game from 1989. Pretty sweet graphics right?!

While the “Avoid the Noid” campaign eventually faded away, the Noid himself did not. With appearances in 30 Rock, Family Guy, The Simpsons, and other entertainment shows, the Noid stayed busy during his downtime with Domino’s Pizza. Because of this success, the Noid was brought back on two occasions in the past few years. In December of 2009, Dominos created t-shirts based on the “Avoid the Noid” ad campaign with the proceeds going to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. The Noid made another appearance during May of 2011 helping to promote their Facebook page and as a stuffed toy during a pizza deal.

So, the next time you order Domino’s Pizza, remember there’s the Noid in his red bunny ears, trying to ruin your hot and fresh pizza.

Avoid the Noid at all costs!

The Best Part of Waking Up is Folger’s in Your Cup!

While sipping my daily cup of coffee and thinking about what to write for this week’s Flashback Friday blog post, the memory of old coffee advertisements from the 80s and 90s came to my head. Just like millions of other people across the country, I started thinking of that memorable Folgers jingle sung over and over in various ways but always to the same melody.

Founded in 1850, The Pioneer Steam Coffee and Spice Mills was bought out by James A. Folger 22 years later, and the Folgers Coffee brand was developed. Over the course of time, their advertisement campaigns spread across the country making their coffee the top selling brand in the United States.

Although Folgers has been around for over 150 years, the catchy jingle that everyone seems to know wasn’t created until 1984. Composed by Leslie Pearl, this tune has been re-sung over and over again by musicians such as Randy Travis, Aretha Franklin and Rockapella in the styles of jazz, folk, gospel, R &B, country, Celtic and a cappella. What is so great about this jingle is that no matter if you’ve heard it once or one hundred times in your life, the minute you see the words written, you can’t help but hum the song in your head. In fact, for the past 27 years “The Best Part of Waking Up” has been the slogan used in almost every advertisement created by Folgers.

Whether it’s Folgers or some other brand of coffee, having that boost of energy in the morning is and always will be one of my motivators to get out of bed in the morning and is truly the best part of waking up.

Below, I have included a flashback to 1984 with one of the first Folgers commercials using their jingle and slogan that would forever brand their company. Do you remember this?

Flashback Friday – Kool-Aid Man

Kool-Aid Man

Kool-Aid Man

As a child, Kool-Aid was always my favorite summer drink. Every time I ran out, I imaged the giant pitcher crashing through the wall with a big “Oh, Yeah!” just like in the commercial below. I never thought about how this beloved mascot had become the brand of Kool-Aid and would continue to build the brand years later.

After acquiring Kool-Aid from inventor Edwin Perkins in 1953, General Foods enlisted the help of Marvin Potts to create an advertising campaign. Marvin, an art director at Foote, Cone, & Belding, first thought of the mascot when he saw his son drawing smiley faces on the frosted windows and named this creation Pitcher Man. It was not until 1975 that Pitcher Man grew a set of legs and arms and became the Kool-Aid Man we all know and love.

Since then, Kool-Aid has built their brand around Kool-Aid Man. It is rare, if not impossible, to find a piece of Kool-Aid material in the last 30 years without him on it. As the product’s demographic changes, so does Kool-Aid Man. For example, this year Kool-Aid has allocated a significant portion of their marketing budget towards the Hispanic community, resulting in Kool-Aid Man learning Spanish.

Kool-Aid Man has also brought Kool-Aid into the pop culture sector. Kool-Aid Man has been a topic for comics, like Dane Cook, and a recurring character on television shows, like Family Guy. He has his own shoe line, video game, and comic book. He can be wearing Hawaiian shirts one minute and lifting cherry weights the next. There’s nothing this pitcher can’t do.

Since his birth, Kool-Aid Man has helped Kool-Aid grow beyond the fruity drink Edwin Perkins first dreamed of and stay relevant to new audiences. Kool-Aid Man, although the same wall crashing pitcher, has kept the brand of Kool-Aid alive by reinventing himself over the past fifty years. What’s your favorite memory of Kool-Aid Man?