Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Out of Fuel

It is apparent from browsing the cereal aisle and online that General Mills's big push to revitalize the Wheaties brand has ended up with an empty tank. Wheaties Fuel, introduced almost four years ago, is no longer anywhere to be seen. It is missing from the grocery stores and its online presence has disappeared. There is no official word from the company of its demise.

Sadly, I'm not surprised. It was obvious that the cereal and its brand never really caught on. Sure, you can find some loyal fans out there, but I'm not convinced the cereal stood out on taste (and that does matter). Also, it's nutritional profile was hardly what athletic men, their target market, are looking for. General Mills also used Fuel as their first foray into marketing a cereal predominately through social media. That was a good training ground for some of their most recent efforts, but may have been too premature for them to focus on at the time.

I was really hoping that this would work. I called for this back in 2008 and was initially impressed with the marketing push they were giving this when launched in September 2009. But, it ended up being yet another failed attempt to make Wheaties the brand it once was.

I remain convinced that there is a need for a macho cereal that provides an edge to the fitness crazed. As far as cereals are concerned I like what I see in new Post Grape Nuts Fit. If they could combine something like that with a more creative marketing approach (such as I have previously proposed) there is still hope for General Mills or someone else to be successful with this niche market.

Thanks for the experience, Wheaties Fuel. We will all watch with interest how the Wheaties brand fares going forward. Hopefully it can be a champion again.

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