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Published on Oct 27, 2011
"The Breakfast of Champions" "You Better Eat Your Wheaties"
What sparks a champion sparks you: Wheaties. "There's a whole kernel of wheat in every flake." Builds up your wheat power. Pittsburgh Pirates' left fielder Ralph Kiner demonstrates how to power up. Taken from a old episode of "The Trouble with Father"
Wheaties began to be advertised on Minneapolis' WCCO radio station on December 24, 1926, with the first-ever commercial jingle. Its lyrics were sung to the tune of the then-popular "She's a Jazz Baby"
Wheaties began its association with sports in 1927, through advertising on the southern wall of minor league baseball's Nicollet Park in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In the contract, Wheaties sponsored the radio broadcasts of the minor league baseball team, Minneapolis Millers, on radio station WCCO and Wheaties was provided with a large billboard in the park to use to introduce new slogans. The first such slogan on the new signboard was penned by Knox Reeves, of a Minneapolis advertising agency. When asked what should be placed on the sign for Wheaties, Reeves sketched a Wheaties box on a pad of paper, thought for a moment, and wrote "Wheaties-The Breakfast of Champions".
Throughout the 1930s, Wheaties increased in popularity with its sponsorship of baseball broadcasting, and by the end of the decade, nearly a hundred radio stations carried Wheaties sponsored events. During these events, athlete testimonials about Wheaties were used to demonstrate that Wheaties was indeed the breakfast of champions. Also in the early 1930s, athletes began to be depicted on the packaging of Wheaties, and the tradition is continued today.
The heyday of Wheaties came in the 1930s and early 1940s, as testimonials peaked from nearly every sport imaginable. Among the many testimonials included were: baseball stars, managers, and trainers; broadcasters; football stars and coaches; circus stars and rodeo; livestock breeders; a railroad engineer; horsemen and jockeys; a big-game hunter; automobile racers; an aviator; a speedboat driver; an explorer; and parachutists.
Wheaties maintained brand recognition through its definitive association with sports, and its distinctive orange boxes. It became so popular that in the 1939 All-Star Game, 46 of the 51 players endorsed the cereal. In the months following, Wheaties became a sponsor of the first televised commercial sports broadcast. On August 29, 1939, NBC presented the baseball game between the Cincinnati Reds and the Brooklyn Dodgers to approximately 500 television set owners in New York City, while Red Barber was the inaugural play-by-play broadcaster.
A measure of the product's familiarity is the reference in the 1941 baseball song Joltin' Joe DiMaggio, performed by Les Brown and his orchestra during DiMaggio's record hitting streak. In the song, Joe D. gets a clutch base hit, and the band awards him "a case of Wheaties".