Tag Archives: RETRO ADS

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: “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke.”

The featured campaign for today’s Flashback Friday post is Coca-Cola’s “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke,” which was released in July of 1971.

To Bill Backer, creative director on the Coca-Cola account for the McCann-Erickson advertising agency, the basic idea of the campaign was this:

…to see Coke not as it was originally designed to be — a liquid refresher — but as a tiny bit of commonality between all peoples, a universally liked formula that would help to keep them company for a few minutes.

 The United States had reached the height of the Cold War and had been involved in Vietnam for over fifteen years.  Domestic and international conflicts had taken a toll on the American people.  The Coke commercial used young people from all over the world to promote love, peace–and Coca-Cola. Understandably, the commercial struck a chord with Americans, who actually requested to hear the song on the radio. Within a few weeks, two separate groups had recorded and released “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke” and had great success.

For your viewing pleasure, here’s the original television advertisement. You won’t be able to watch just once.

Flashback Friday: “I Wish I Were an Oscar Mayer Weiner”

The recent newsworthy events surrounding Congressman Anthony Weiner have led me to choose a particularly appropriate advertising campaign for this week’s Flashback Friday.

Anyone with a childhood should certainly remember hearing (and singing) the Oscar Mayer Weiner song.  But when did that jingle first fall upon the ears of Americans nationwide?

Let’s see.  According to the Wisconsin Historical Society, it all began back in 1962.

In 1962, J. Walter Thompson, the country’s largest advertising company, ran a contest to create a jingle that the Oscar Mayer Co. could use to advertise hot dogs. Richard Trentlage, a Chicago ad man, won the contest with a tune called “The Wiener Song” whose lyrics were:

Oh, I wish I were an Oscar Mayer Wiener,
That is what I’d truly like to be-ee-ee.
‘Cause if I were an Oscar Mayer Wiener,
Everyone would be in love with me.

The jingle appeared in commercials that reached 49 million families. Families! And I have it on good authority that “The Wiener Song” has aired in 19 countries, been featured on a Hallmark card, and, of course, become an unforgettable part of American advertising.

Flashback Friday: “A Diamond is Forever.”

It’s coming up on June and the summer wedding season is ready to swing into high gear.

This Flashback Friday’s advertisement features the iconic slogan, “A Diamond is Forever.”

Created by N.W. Ayer & Son for diamond behemoth De Beers in 1948, the slogan has endured for over fifty years.  Not only is this campaign a classic because of its longevity, it’s a classic because it completely changed the way we think about diamond rings.

De Beers didn’t just advertise diamond engagement rings. They invented the tradition.

The father and son duo of Ernest and Harry Oppenheimer established, well, a pretty controversial diamond monopoly during the first half of the twentieth century.  [Really: Ernest shut down diamond mines to decrease supply and keep diamond prices high.]  But that wasn’t enough for the company.  As the United States emerged from the Great Depression, the Oppenheimers decided to start selling diamonds to everyone, not just the wealthy folks.  And how did they do that?

They created a diamond product that would appeal to the masses: a diamond engagement ring.

De Beers established the diamond engagement ring as a symbol of everlasting love, making it a sign of a religious commitment–not just an accessory.

Here’s what De Beers has to say:

“The diamond occupies a truly unique place in history. A dazzling fragment of eternity, it has shed its divine light through thousands of years, captivating mankind with its otherworldly beauty. De Beers pioneered the iconic positioning of diamonds in our contemporary culture, as a symbol of everlasting love because like true love, a diamond is forever.”

Short version: “We invented the diamond engagement ring. Keep buying them!”

Essentially, De Beers harnessed the power of advertising to invent a social expectation that required newlyweds to purchase an expensive diamond ring from, obviously, De Beers.  The company actually created social norms with its advertising. Wild.

So, here we are in 2011, six decades after De Beers introduced the “Diamond is Forever” slogan.  The concept behind the advertising campaign has become a part of American culture.

I know someone who has been invited to a whopping fifteen weddings over the next couple months.  I wonder how many of the brides have diamond engagement rings.

Year: 1948
Agency Credit: N.W. Ayer & Son

Flashback Friday: “M’m! M’m! Good!”

Campbell's Soup

Chances are you don’t need anything more than the title of this post to know exactly what brand I’m talking about.

But just in case you’ve been MIA from popular culture for the past couple of decades, it’s Campbell’s Soup.

Here’s a 1930’s radio advertisement featuring that iconic slogan for your listening pleasure:

So. What exactly makes this advertisement a classic?

Let’s refer to the Baer Performance Marketing Classic-Or-Not Checklist.

Is it memorable?

Has it endured the test of time?

Have we incorporated it into our contemporary lexicon to describe everything from piña coladas to meatloaf?

Well, there you have it! “M’m! M’m! Good!” is a classic.

Campbell’s has used that tagline for a whopping eighty years. You don’t get to be the world’s Number One soup maker without a recognizable slogan like that, right?

Now that I’m done with this post, I think I’ll have grilled cheese and tomato soup for lunch.