While our world is changing and it's been awhile since Jenner was recognized as an athlete, Caitlyn is still the athlete we once knew. No matter her gender, Jenner remains the athlete that was famous for winning Olympic gold; the same athlete that once graced the front of the Wheaties box. But she is now famous for so much more. Her personal decisions have not impacted her past as an Olympian, and with that in mind, General Mills would be smart to stand by its slogan as "The Breakfast of Champions," because Caitlyn is now a champion in more ways than one.
From a marketing standpoint, there is a huge benefit to Wheaties if they should choose to put Caitlyn on the box. Wheaties is poised to appeal to a new millennial audience, one that is more accepting than the generations that came before them, and stands to gain quite a bit in terms of corporate responsibility by acknowledging that as one of very few spokespeople for the brand, Jenner's personal choices in her appearance don't take away from her past accomplishments.
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General Mills could decline because it has been so long since Jenner has been recognized by the public for accomplishments as an athlete. However, to take advantage of the buzz, General Mills could feature Jenner in a now and then box. The Wheaties brand has brought back athletes before, celebrating its 75th anniversary by featuring past champions on boxes. If the brand were to do something similar again, it would be making a huge mistake by not including Caitlyn.
Wheaties features athletic champions on its boxes to depict a healthy lifestyle, one that consumers buying the product can aspire to. It may be time to expand those recognized on the box to include athletes that don't fit the stereotypical mold, and let consumers admire champions that are known for more than their athletic achievements.
Commentary by Shawn Prez, CEO of Power Moves Inc., a grass-roots marketing firm that has connected brands with consumers for more than 15 years. Follow @powermovesinc on Twitter.