January 14, 2010: Wheaties Fuel, which was unveiled last July and then made available in limited quantities only via online since September, has finally arrived at store shelves nationwide. The release comes as General Mills seeks to take advantage of a busy sports marketing period with the Super Bowl, NBA All-Star Game and Winter Olympics all arriving within the next month.
As part of what General Mills has called a "multimillion-dollar effort" to launch Fuel, the brand will unveil a TV spot starring Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning on Jan. 15 to fans on a dedicated Facebook page, where Wheaties is also offering a $1-off coupon for Fuel to anyone who becomes a friend. The spot, in which Manning translates his comment that "Your body is like a machine and you have to have the right Fuel to go out and perform" into action, will then debut nationally, targeting a male audience via sports events and programming. Tag: "Fuel. Win. Evolve." Lead agency is Saatchi & Saatchi, New York.
In the spot, we see Manning in a farm field tossing footballs. As he does, we hear him in voiceover: "Gotta make a play here. Find the opening. Be precise. Hit that guy. Hit that guy. Gotta make a play. Let's do it again." We then see that Manning has tossed dozens of footballs. Another voiceover then offers, "Winning takes intense preparation. It starts with Wheaties Fuel." Manning then says in voiceover, "New Wheaties Fuel. Prepare to win."
According to Manning, who also is starring in current commercials for MasterCard, Sony and Nabisco's Oreo Double Stuf, "This is an intense cereal. We put a lot of time into making this come to life. We put a lot of time, energy, intensity and passion into it. It's a good-tasting cereal that at the same time is helping everybody perform better."
Print to date has included a tie-in with Men’s Health, with readers who volunteered online helping to select a final recipe, followed by the publication offering samples at such events as running and biking races.
In addition to FaceBook, General Mills also is supporting with Twitter and MySpace destinations. Di:Digital, New York, has handled interactive elements, anchored by an SMS campaign that included an FSI with a mobile text code connecting to such content as information about Manning and the other athletes involved with developing the brand, tips on nutrition and fitness and an option for e-mail alerts to receive updated information.
Continuing a Wheaties tradition, Fuel will feature individual box covers of Manning, Kevin Garnett (pictured) of the NBA's Boston Celtics and MLB MVP Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals. The company said the product was created with the input from the trio as well as triathlete Hunter Kemper, gold medal-winning decathlete Bryan Clay and sports nutritionist Dr. John Ivy. All five athletes are pictured on the back of the boxes along with Dr. Ivy. All three 17.1 oz boxes are now available nationwide.
Wheaties Fuel will have a presence at the NBA All-Star Game in Dallas in February with support from Garnett. The brand has been running a promotion, "Get Your W's," offering tickets to the game at Cowboys Stadium and other prizes. The cereal is expected to do experiential marketing and sample offerings during the NFL's stay in Miami for both the Pro Bowl and Super Bowl.
A dedicated Web site has been running a six-part series featuring Manning, Garnett and the other athletes involved showing behind-the-scenes action of how Fuel went from concept to consumers.
General Mills said the product would "not replace the original Wheaties. Together, the two products will make up the evolved and expanded Breakfast of Champions product portfolio."
“Developing the new evolution of Wheaties has been more than two years in the making, and we’re excited to finally bring Fuel to retail and into the hands of consumers,” Dan Stangler, marketing manager for Wheaties, said in a statement. “Today’s athletes need a finely tuned diet to allow their bodies to be efficient and competitive, and with the help of our team of champion athletes, a world-renowned sports nutritionist and everyday athletes, we’ve created the first-ever cereal designed to help fuel wins.”