After so many of our sporting stars returned from Beijing with gold, brands seeking athletic endorsements from Team GB heroes had plenty to choose from. Top of most brands’ list, though, must have been Chris Hoy, whose stock has risen further since his return.

Just a fortnight after being named BBC Sports Personality of the Year and a few days before receiving a knighthood, Chris Hoy appeared on TV as the new face of Kellogg’s Bran Flakes – and about time too. In the four weeks to 11 January, Kellogg’s invested £890,000 in print and TV ads for Bran Flakes, whereas in the same period in 2007/2008 it spent nothing. Over the year to 11 January, its investment in Bran Flakes was just £5m, only a third of what it spent promoting Special K and half its spend on Crunchy Nut Corn Flakes.

Now, however, Kellogg’s is taking a new direction with Bran Flakes, aiming, it said, to make it “the Special K for men” and is hoping Hoy’s appeal to healthy and unhealthy men alike will help them do that. The 30-second TV ad that broke on 28 December was timed to coincide with new year health drives and features Hoy at a velodrome eating the cereal for its fibre and because it’s “good hearty stuff”. The end line is ‘Are you built in Kellogg’s Bran Flakes?’

Dovetailing with this was a series of ads in newspapers with the cyclist standing in front of a Union Jack. These take a cheekier ­approach than the TV ad by poking fun at the French and Italians with the straps: ‘I believe the French have pastries for breakfast’ and ‘I hear Italian men still let their mums make breakfast.’ The Germans are set to get the treatment in March.

In the US the cereal company has employed another gold-winning Olympian – the swimmer Michael Phelps, but in advertisements for Corn Flakes and Frosted Flakes, not its healthier US cereals. It’s a move that has not gone uncriticised and the star also endorses McDonald’s.

Back in the UK, Kellogg’s also kicked off the new year with a continuation of TV chef’s Aldo Zilli’s promotion of Optivita. With a sharp rise in ad spend in the four-week period, the campaign is tied in with heart charity Heart UK on TV and in the press, pushing a ­cholesterol-lowering message to older ­cereal buyers, and will run throughout the year.