Lincoln, Me. (DG)--
Wheaties made advertising history as the first product to feature a singing commercial on network radio. Its first airing took place on Christmas Eve 1926. The soon-to-be famous "Have You Tried Wheaties" jingle was sung by four male singers known as "The Wheaties Quartet". Since direct selling on radio wasn't allowed, the singers of the jingle simply asked the listeners if they ever tried Wheaties; what it contained; and how Wheaties will please the listeners' taste buds.
Both the musical and non-musical commercials at that time were a barometer on Wheaties' popularity. Sales increased in areas where the people heard the musical commercial. Unfortunately, it was heard only in a very limited area of the United States. In those regions where the musical commercial wasn't heard, Wheaties' sales floundered badly.
With the product's sagging popularity, General Mills, the makers of Wheaties, came within a whisker of discontinuing the production and selling of Wheaties. At a company staff meeting, an advertising executive for Wheaties offered the suggestion that ended up saving the cereal. He stated that since the sales were good in those regions where the Wheaties musical commercial was heard, why not air the commercial in as many regions of the country as possible. In a nutshell, the musical commercial were aired; sales improved; and Wheaties quickly became one of the most popular breakfast cereals.
As for the Wheaties jingle, the musical ditty continued on the air. During the 1930's, it helped the product attract a specific group of radio listeners--- children. With a slight change in the words, the jingle was sung on the program Wheaties was most famous for sponsoring on radio, JACK ARMSTRONG, THE ALL AMERICAN BOY.