1934: Lou Gehrig becomes first athlete to appear on a Wheaties box
When baseball star Lou Gehrig first appeared on a Wheaties box in 1934, it marked the first time an athlete appeared on the brand’s cereal box, paving the way for many more to come including Bruce Jenner, Michael Jordan and Mary Lou Retton.
Lou Gherig Wheaties box
According to Wheaties: “Testimonials from athletic greats like Lou Gehrig turned the modest wheat flake into something of a legend. The company was forging new methods of marketing that revamped the product from a cereal into an advocate for a specific lifestyle. Wheaties cereal was what you ate if you wanted to be like the professionals – it had truly become the ‘Breakfast of Champions.’”
The General Mills brand still features athletes on its boxes to this day. In 2015 it featured basketball star Stephen Curry on its iconic orange boxes, and earlier this year it announced that Ryan Dungey would be the first motocross athlete to appear on a Wheaties box.
See the full 120 Marketing Moments in the dedicated online section and find out how to purchase the exclusive book, launched 1 December.