A Complaint Makes Lillington Couple 'Cheerios' Stars
Posted August 8, 1999
LILLINGTON — Just by chance, a Lillington woman parlayed a complaint, her Southern accent and a love for Cheerios into a national television commercial.
The spot, which has been airing for several weeks, shows Elaine and Jerry Baker walking along a beach and bantering about each other, and their breakfast cereal -- Cheerios.
Despite all the fame and attention their commercial has brought them, they're still down to earth North Carolinians. In fact, the Bakers are reluctant stars.
It all came about when Elaine called General Mills to complain about not receiving a toy she sent off for, from an offer on the back of a Cheerios box.
That call and her husband's lowered cholesterol level got them an offer to fly to California to be featured in a Cheerios commercial.
"He said, 'I won't believe it until we get on the set and start working,'" Elaine Baker recalled. "And after we got on the set and we were playing golf, I turned around and looked at him and I said, 'Do you believe it now?' That's when he started believing it."
The Bakers almost had to turn down the offer.
"We had a hard time letting them know for sure we could go to California. Because we've got eight dogs, and I told the coordinator I couldn't give her a yes until we found out for sure we could have someone come and feed our animals."
The California weather wasn't what the Bakers had expected.
"It was real cold out there. It was 28 degrees that morning when we started and the highest it got was 58 the last day we were there."
The shoot took nine hours over two days.
"I didn't get nervous until we had to sit down and start talking," Elaine said. "Boy! Was I nervous then! Because I knew the world was watching me talk."
The spot is now being shown around the country.
"I sort of like the attention I get from my old friends that I haven't seen in a long time," Elaine Baker said. "They call me and say, 'Was that you I saw on TV?'"
The Bakers say it was an experience they'll never forget.
And pass the Cheerios....