With both Major League Baseball and General Mills facing their own separate scandals (OK, maybe the Saatchi 17 aren’t on the level of steroids, but we take what we can get here at AdFreak), did anyone really think they’d be able to get away with a partnership branding Wheaties "the Official Breakfast of Major League Baseball"?
Despite several players being issued congressional subpoenas about the alleged steroid use (and baseball vowing to fight them), General Mills is going ahead with a program that will feature baseball stars on Wheaties boxes, and a national ad that reporters speculated will be tied to Barry Bonds’ breaking Hank Aaron’s home-run record.
Executives at a New York press conference announcing the partnership ducked the steroid question, saying they didn’t know all the facts. Still, reporters wondered if General Mills might be placing itself in an uncomfortable position of celebrating an achievement without being able to celebrate the achiever. "It’s tough to answer that question, given we don’t know all the facts," said Eric Lucas, vice president of marketing for cereals at General Mills. "With the assumption of facts that haven’t been established, it’s a little less than fruitful to answer the questions that you’re asking."
Regardless, it’s hard to think of one currently active player who will have the natural appeal of the first MLB player to grace a Wheaties box: Lou Gehrig.
—Posted by Aaron Baar