By Barry Janoff
August 12, 2013: In 1934, Lou Gehrig of the New York Yankees became the first athlete to have his image placed on a box of Wheaties.
This week, Wheaties will unveil the first of three limited-edition boxes featuring Adrian Peterson, running back for the Minnesota Vikings, who last season rushed for 2,097 yards and 12 TDs and was named the NFL's offensive MVP.
But the deal is more than a product endorsement. Wheaties, a division of General Mills, said it would enhance the cereal box with the brand's first interactive athlete-specific cover.
Via an alliance with Blippar, an augmented reality platform, Wheaties said it would enable consumers to access exclusive content and photos. Wheaties unveiled its first Blippar cover earlier this month with a box featuring participants from extreme competition Tough Mudder.
Wheaties said it would support the Peterson boxes with marketing including Internet, a "celebratory event later this month" and social media destinations such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
"It's an honor to add Adrian Peterson to our growing Team Wheaties family," Jim Wilson, Wheaties marketing manager, said in a statement. "Adrian embodies the heart of a champion whether he's scoring touchdowns or giving back to his community. Wheaties has been committed to providing athletes with the nutrition they need to help them perform at their best for more than 85 years and we are proud to continue that tradition with Adrian Peterson."
According to Peterson, "I remember as a kid growing up and hearing my parents tell me that I'd better eat my Wheaties. I never thought that as a kid that I would actually be on the same box that once had my childhood heroes on it. I am blessed and fortunate to have such an incredible honor. I would like to remind all of the kids that they better eat their Wheaties."
"I remember as a kid hearing my parents tell me that I'd better eat my Wheaties. I never thought I'd be on the same box that once had my childhood heroes."
Wheaties said that customers who download the Blippar app can "blipp" or scan the box with their iOS, Android or Blackberry 10 device to "unlock exclusive content including an AP video game and sharable photo opportunities."
Peterson joins a list of NFL players who have been on a Wheaties box including Walter Payton, Franco Harris, Tony Dorsett, Doug Flutie, Michael Vick and Peyton Manning.
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