Tuesday, March 04, 2014

When all else fails change the box

A regular topic on this blog over the years concerns the struggles of General Mills' Wheaties and the various attempts to revitalize this brand. So far nothing has really worked.

With Wheaties' sports emphasis it's no surprise that they just unveiled two new boxes featuring two Sochi gold medalists. Even though General Mills is not an official sponsor of the Olympics they are capitalizing on the athletes themselves, this time Mikaela Shiffrin and Sage Kotsenburg. This post-Olympics strategy has been going on for quite some time, 2012 and 2010 as recent examples.

The story here, however, is not more Wheaties boxes with athletes on them. It is that this is an opportunity for General Mills to highlight a major redesign of the core Wheaties box itself, the first such move in many years. In actuality they released a generic version of the new design back in the fall, but now with these star athletes the fresh look is fully expressed and promoted.

The boxes have a new energy to them, with a revamped wordmark all brighter and gradient oranges, all obviously targeted to a younger audience. The boxes definitely will stand out more on the grocery store shelf.

But, will this new look result in more sales and a rejuvenated brand? Only time will really tell.

UPDATE: The Wall Street Journal featured an article the same day on Wheaties' struggle, including a quote from yours truly. Unfortunately, they got the quote partly wrong, as I was referring to the now discontinued Wheaties Fuel, not the base Wheaties. So, Wheaties lovers relax. I know there are some of you out there!


Jerome Ellard said...

I saw you quoted in the WSJ as saying that you didn't know anyone who really loves Wheaties -well, here I am! I've always liked Wheaties!

Lloyd said...

Good to hear from a true Wheaties fan! Seriously, what is it about Wheaties that you like versus the other cereals on the market?

CT said...

I can report a second Wheaties fan, my Dad. It is his favorite cereal, but the reason he doesn't eat it more often is that 1) it is expensive and 2) it is almost never on sale. Cheerios are frequently on sale at approx half the price of Wheaties.