Did you eat your Wheaties this morning? If you did, maybe you noticed that they came out of a different-looking box. Wheaties cereal recently became a sponsor of Tough Mudder and this summer they released a Tough Mudder-branded box. Guess what lucky photographer has two thumbs and got to shoot the photos for it? This lucky photographer.
I’ve been sitting on writing about this for a few months, waiting for the new boxes to hit stores, and they finally have. Two million of them, actually! It’s surreal and funny and pretty damn cool – the Wheaties box is just such an iconic piece of Americana. For an athlete to be featured on a box is a shorthand for the height of fame and achievement. By sponsoring Tough Mudder, Wheaties are embracing the “casual athlete” trend that’s exploded with mud runs like TM. So this Wheaties box is a milestone – the first one to feature non-professional, non-famous athletes. Just regular people dominating an obstacle course.
How it went down: The shoot took place at a Tough Mudder event in Arizona back in January. My man Zack DeLaune filled in with event coverage while I worked with a designer for General Mills and a team of Tough Mudder participants that were running the whole course. We were shooting for a couple of design concepts but the main one was to incorporate Tough Mudder’s Everest quarter-pipe obstacle into the Wheaties logo on the box. Great idea, as this is an obstacle that really highlights the combination of individual effort and camaraderie that defines Tough Mudder.
We shot quite a few of versions of this shot to give the General Mills designers a lot to work with. Some compositing and Photoshop, and we have our cereal box!
A couple of days ago I walked into a grocery store in Minneapolis and finally saw my first box out in the wild. Of course I bought one. My box-cereal-eating days are long behind me (I was a Frosted Flakes kid), but these Wheaties are actually pretty good!