Wheaties: Reinvigorating an Iconic Brand (a)

7 Pages Posted: 30 May 2017

See all articles by Marian Chapman Moore

Marian Chapman Moore

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Abstract

This case series is taught in Darden's course elective, Managing Consumer Brands. In the spring of 2008, the marketing editor for Wheaties was getting ready for a meeting to discuss ideas about how to reinvigorate one of the most iconic and well-known cereal brands in America, which over the preceding few years had experienced a steady decline in market share. The only limitation the manager would impose was that any new product could not replace the original Wheaties. Otherwise, she was open to any opportunity to differentiate Wheaties from the orange box and yet fully embody the brand equity.

Excerpt

UVA-M-0828

Rev. Jan. 4, 2016

Wheaties: Reinvigorating an Iconic Brand (A)

In the spring of 2008, Betsy Frost, a 2005 graduate of the Darden Business School and marketing manager of Wheaties brand cereal at General Mills, Inc. (GMI), was eagerly awaiting the afternoon meeting scheduled with her cross-functional partners across the division (see Exhibit1 for organizational chart). The focus of the meeting was to discuss ideas to reinvigorate one of the most iconic and well-known cereal brands in America, which over the preceding few years had experienced a steady decline in market share. Frost had a few thoughts on how to reinvigorate this brand, but she was confident that her peers would also contribute many excellent ideas on how to help grow the Breakfast of Champions.

History

Much like penicillin, Post-it Notes, and the microwave oven, Wheaties was discovered by accident and became a part of American culture. In 1921, a health clinician working for the Washburn-Crosby Company (later GMI) accidently spilled a wheat bran mixture onto a hot stove, creating a flake as the liquid evaporated. After two years and 36 attempts to strengthen the tasty flakes to stand up to packaging and shipping, the process was perfected. The resulting cereal was called Washburn's Gold Medal Whole Wheat Flakes. The name was soon changed to Wheaties—the winner in an employee contest (other options included “Nutties” and “Gold Medal Wheat Flakes”).

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Keywords: market share, brand equity, advertising

Suggested Citation

Moore, Marian Chapman, Wheaties: Reinvigorating an Iconic Brand (a). Darden Case No. UVA-M-0828. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2974701

Marian Chapman Moore (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

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