Wheaties for a new generation

Wheaties has been a mainstay in popular culture thanks to its affiliation with the world of sports. However, as interest in pro sports started to erode, so had the brand. This is because millennials don’t want to ‘be like Mike,’ they want to be the very best version of themselves. Armed with this insight, we transformed Wheaties from a brand known only for idolizing traditional professional athletes to one that fuels the champion inside everyone.

We used social and digital to experiment with this new position and recast Wheaties as an engaged, participatory brand. The following are interesting activations that stemmed from our ‘always on’ digital strategy.

Wheaties NEXT

For the first time in its 91-year history, Wheaties put the power in the hands of voters to choose the next athlete to appear on its iconic box. Five world-class athletes from emerging sports vied for the honor of being NEXT by challenging their fans to get out and move. Through a unique partnership with MapMyFitness, fans voted for their favorite athlete by logging their workouts. The athlete that accumulated the most fan activity at the end of the competition would be named Wheaties NEXT. After two months of voting and over 873,000 workouts logged, UFC Champion Antony Pettis was crowned the winner.

Creative Leads: Elias Martinez, Bill Eckloff, Keith Van Erdewyk
Strategy Lead: Nien Liu
Designer: Brian Danaher
Copywriter: Jason Zabel
Partners: Adrian Ho, Christian Erickson, Brad Surcey

Wheaties Tough Mudder Challenge

To activate a partnership with Tough Mudder, we challenged two slightly out-of-shape bloggers to run the 11-mile obstacle course with only a month of preparation. Comedian Josh Gondelman and writer Ned Hepburn accepted the challenge and documented the entire process, creating Wheaties branded content that generated thousands of impressions. On the day of the event, our crew captured the final, triumphant result. Then, completely unsolicited, Josh and Ned wrote feature articles about their experience that ran in Esquire and Death + Taxes. Two entirely new platforms and audiences for the brand.


Creative Leads: Elias Martinez, Jason Zabel
Strategy Lead: Nien Liu
Designer: Brian Danaher
Producer: Sarah Heuer
Partners: Adrian Ho, Christian Erickson


Samantha Gordon Wheaties Box

As part of our ‘always on’ strategy we sought out every day athletes who exhibited the character and fortitude of a Wheaties Champion. We would find their stories then reach out and surprise these folks with their very own Wheaties box. These figures included an NFL coach battling cancer and a runner who fell during a 600m race, then picked herself up and went on to finish first. In the case of 9-year-old football phenom Sam Gordon, we were able to celebrate an incredible young champion and generate a little bit of earned media for our efforts.

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A few weeks ago, this little girl was delighting parents with her skill at a local football league. Today, she lands on a box of Wheaties, a dream of many athletes.
— Bleacher Report
Michael Jordan. Tiger Woods. Walter Payton. Lou Gehrig, and now, Sam Gordon.
— Sports Illustrated
Wheaties said they picked Sam because she’s an inspiration to other young girls and aspiring athletes around the country.
The Wheaties box is a real coup and Sam joins such sports superstars as Michael Phelps, Gabby Douglas, Lindsey Vonn, Misty May-Treanor and Shaun White.
— prettytough.com

Creative Leads: Elias Martinez, Keith Van Erdewyk, Bill Eckloff
Strategy Lead: Nien Liu
Partners: Adrian Ho, Christian Erickson