Lincoln, Me. (DG)--
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
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.