Lacrosse star Rob Pannell could be first athlete voted to be on front of Wheaties box
By JON FOGG
The Baltimore Sun|
Jul 02, 2014 | 7:10 PM
I'm old enough to remember that it was a big deal when athletes were chosen to grace the front of a Wheaties box, yet I've never eaten a flake of it.
General Mills would like to change that. The company has unveiled a promotion that, for the first time in the 90-year history of Wheaties, will allow the public to choose who's going on the iconic orange carton.
The selection of athletes and the methodology show how General Mills is skewing younger with this promotion, the Wheaties Next Challenge. Lacrosse, the fastest-growing sport at the college and high school levels, gets a nod -- Rob Pannell, a former Cornell All-American and now a star with Major League Lacrosse's New York Lizards, is one of the five athletes up for the vote. The others are motocross star Ryan Dungey, para-athlete Blake Leeper, mixed martial artist Anthony "Showtime" Pettis and U.S. women's national soccer team player Christen Press. All five already had sponsorship deals with Wheaties; in December, Pannell appeared on a billboard in New York's Times Square.
For a company that has been putting athletes on its packaging for the past 80 years, this contest is a major break from the past. So, too, is the voting method, which is a clear appeal to a younger demographic. In order to cast a ballot, you have to register with MapMyFitness through its website or mobile app.
According to Wheaties, "every workout logged will count as one vote for the selected athlete (up to two workouts of 30 minutes or more can be logged each day)."