Jeff Tweedy on Wilco's Foxtrot Collab, Including Beer, Gummies and Cereal
The band Wilco and the convenience store chain Foxtrot both hail from Chicago. Wilco's fourth album, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, turned 20 last year. To celebrate a deluxe reissue box set of the album coming this September, the pair joined forces to create a pop-up Wilco store—dubbed the Yankee Hotel Foxtrot Market—inside Foxtrot's Old Town Store in Chicago.
Chicago-based artist Louie Capozzoli and Foxtrot's in-house creative team created Wilco-themed beer and snacks for the occasion.
There's "I Am Trying to Eat Your Heart" gummies (a play off Wilco's hit, "I Am Trying to Break Your Heart"); a Jesus Don’t Cry pilsner, created by Great Central Brewing (named for the opening line in "Jesus, Etc."); and a partnership with OffLimits for Wilc-O's cinnamon cereal, with an animated version of frontman Jeff Tweedy on the box.
"We reached out to the brand regarding their name origin," says Crystal Myers, manager of Wilco. "It's unrelated to the band, but we spoke to Foxtrot about doing a local collaboration related to the 20th anniversary of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. We brainstormed ideas and came up with three co-branded products—beer, cereal and gummies—to sell at a pop-up event."
For two weeks, the store was transformed into Wilco central, with custom signage, merch and product displays. Everything sold out, and the beer was first to go.
"The kickoff party took place with local bands and it matched with Wilco's Chicago tour date," Myers tells Muse. "We have done pop-ups before, but it's usually very merch-focused. Wilco is more than just the music. These are extensions of the brand. We'll release some of the items again when the album is re-released in September."
Click the images to enlarge and scroll through:
Fans fortunate to snag a cereal box came across a QR code on the top flap. Scanning it led to an advertising jingle, written and performed by Wilco. Take a listen below, but FYI, there's one swear word in there.
"Why do Wilc-O's cinnamon cereal taste so good," two kids ask. "Is it because it's made with vegan and plant-based and gluten-free ingredients, or is it because it has all natural organic flavors? Hey Mister, why do Wilc-O's cinnamon cereal taste so good?"
Tweedy gets colorful with the inquisitive kids then breaks into song:
"Wilc-O's cinnamon cereal, fix yourself a bowl
They're small and round and shaped like Os without a hole"
In between European tour gigs, we spoke with Tweedy about creating the jingle and his favorite ads starring musicians.
Having your face on a cereal box. Is this your Michael Jordan/ Wheaties moment?
I think it's as close as I'll get, as a 5-foot-9-ish musician with a limited wingspan.
Tell me about the jingle. Why was it important to have it?
Part of what makes vintage branding and marketing so much fun is the thought and care put into advertising. The Wilc-O's jingle was a collaborative effort by myself, The Loft studio manager Mark Greenberg, and Chicago actors Marina Squerciati, Patrick Webb and Dave O'Donnell. We would have included toys in the cereal boxes, too, if that was an option.
Which ad jingle sticks in your head?
"By Mennen" is the jingle that haunts me to this day.
What are some of your favorite ad campaigns that star musicians?
Sammy Davis Jr.'s Suntory whiskey ad. Marky Ramone's pasta sauce. And Britney Spears' Pepsi Super Bowl commercial.