Category Archives: Videos

Wheaties Makes Marketing Strike With Retro Bowling Ads

The Cereal Brand Spotlights Old Bowling Star

 

 

Published: March 27, 2015

 

The Breakfast of Champions is going bowling. Wheaties — known for partnering with A-list sports stars like Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods — for its newest campaign is spotlighting a pro bowler whose heyday was back in the mid-20th Century.

 

That would be Andy Varipapa, who was known as much for his trick-shot making as his winning. Ads featuring vintage footage of Mr. Varipapa — who died in 1984 — will run during a Professional Bowlers Association event that will begin airing on Sunday on ESPN.

 

The ads (examples above and below) are part of Wheaties sponsorship of a PBA tournament series that occurs in Maine. As part of the deal, Wheaties will sponsor one of the competing teams, whose members will wear Wheaties bowling shirts. Other brands sponsoring teams include Geico and Barbasol, according to the PBA.

 

The campaign, which will also get paid digital support, was created in house by brand-owner General Mills.

 

Air Jordan, this ain’t. But as a marketing play, it’s not a gutter ball, either.

 

“Bowling happens to be one of those sports that is equally appealing to [baby] boomers and millennials,” said General Mills Chief Creative Officer Michael Fanuele. It is the top participation sport in the U.S. — excluding fitness activities — with about 46.2 million people bowling at least once in a year, according to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association.

 

“In researching the history of bowling, there was one guy above all else who exhibited the spirit of a champion that Wheaties has always admired and applauded, and so [Mr. Varipapa] became our hero,” Mr. Fanuele said.

 

Mr. Varipapa was “the supreme bowler of his time and one of the sport’s best attractions for more than a quarter of a century,” according to a New York Times obituary published in 1984, which noted that he was “popular for his trick shots as well as his normal prowess.”

 

 

 

 

Andy Varipapa – Stories from the Hall of Fame – 2002

Back in 2002, the History Channel produced a cable series focusing on Sports Halls of Fame, and Andy was one of the feature presentations from the Bowling Hall of Fame episode. It is an entertaining and informative video that includes testimonials from PBA stars such as Parker Bohn III, Johnny Petraglia, and George Pappas.  It also includes film clips from actual matches and of course, his trick shots,

 

Andy Varipapa mention on “MASH” – 1982

In the Season 10 episode of MASH, “Blood and Guts”, Klinger tells Col. Potter how excited he was to meet Andy Varipapa in his hometown of Toledo.

 

Interestingly enough, there is actually some truth in this. In the 1950’s Andy was on an exhibition tour that took him to Toledo and met young Jamie Farr as he visited the city’s bowling centers. And Andy’s autographed photo is on the sports wall of the famous Toledo restaurant, Tony Packo’s, that Klinger always mentioned on the show.

 

In addition, Harry Morgan (Col. Potter) also knew Andy, as Andy was the mystery guest on an episode of “What’s My Line” in 1957. As he was listening to the various clues Harry excused himself from voting because he felt sure that the mystery guest was Charles Atlas. Obviously he was wrong, but it is interesting to note that Charles Atlas and Andy came from the same town in Italy, along with famous wrestler Bruno Sammartino.

 

Retro Roll – 1954

Retro Roll is a video clip distributed by the ABC (now USBC) showcasing Andy’s favorite trick shots. Don’t be fooled by the opening frame which claims this was filmed in the 1940’s; it is taken from a promotional movie known as “Rip Van Winkle” filmed in 1954, focusing on the history of bowling and its rising popularity in America.

 

 

 

Bowling Tricks with Andy Varipapa – 1948

Bowling Tricks with Andy Varipapa, filmed in 1948 after his back-to-back wins in the BPAA All-Star is perhaps the best trick shot video Andy ever made. It not only showcases all his well-known favorites but also features several others not captured on any other films.

 

Not surprisingly, this is the video that featured all of the trick shots that General Mills chose for its 2015 Wheaties campaign shown on the PBA telecasts.

 

Better Bowling – 1942

Filmed in 1942, this video displays some of the new “modern” advances of bowling, which is now considered to be the largest sport in the country with over 20 million participants of all ages. Includes coaching from Ned Day and a trick shot exhibition by Andy. Finally, the last three minutes provide a comedy approach to the game from a Jonathan Winters-type character.