2015 Winners

Digital Engagement: BRONZE

Brand Content: GOLD

The Cheerios Effect campaign image

The Cheerios Effect

Date of Implementation:

September 2014

Objectives and Challenges:

Several major categories were in decline due to consumer apathy towards packaged food options and General Mills, one of the largest food manufactures in Canada, was facing another extremely challenging year in 2014. Retailers were favoring smaller organic and natural players with support and additional shelf space. The food category players were fiercely trying to outdo each other by trying to convince consumers that their brand is either tastiest or healthiest or a combination of both.

Cossette had to fundamentally transform the way General Mills approached their marketing. They evolved to purpose-driven. The Cheerios franchise is the largest cereal brand in Canada and therefore most vulnerable to the existing market dynamics. However, General Mills historically had marketed the Cheerios sub-brands separately resulting in a very costly marketing plan. The retailers were also committing to separate support plans for each of the sub-brands. The decision to shift to purpose-based marketing presented a great opportunity for the first time ever to market all of the Cheerios sub-brands under one campaign. This was a great opportunity to scale up their support and efficiently lift the entire Cheerios franchise.

Insight and Resulting Concept:

There is a natural connectedness that happens around a bowl of Cheerios at the breakfast table in the morning. At the brand level Cossette discovered that Cheerios naturally come together in a bowl. This is an actual documented phenomenon fortuitously named “The Cheerios Effect” which refers to the tendency of small floating objects to attract one another.

The agency drew a parallel between the way Cheerios come together in a bowl and the many ways that people naturally come together. The Brand Purpose of celebrating powerful human connections was developed for Cheerios.


The campaign featured real people telling their personal stories of connection over Cheerios coming together in a bowl of milk -- pure, like Cheerios. Longer form versions of their stories were featured on-line and cut-down to 30- second spots that were broadcast on TV . As the campaign rolled out, consumers were invited to share their own personal stories through an on-line story generator that would dynamically assemble pictures using Cheerios coming together to form an image related to key words in their written stories. These were turned into Cheerios Effect movies that they could send to their own connections.


The campaign became a Canadian and international success viewed over 3 million times. In addition, thousands of stories were created and shared through the on-line story generator dominating consumer’s social streams. The Cheerios brand volume jumped by 5% in the first three months of the campaign and still shows strong growth. The campaign generated millions more media impressions after being picked up by local and international media and was praised by many bloggers and influential opinion leaders. Several publications listed The Cheerios Effect in their “Top Campaigns of the Year.”


Client: General Mills Canada / Cheerios

Creative Agency: Cossette

Chief Transformation Officer: Glen Hunt Creative Directors: Glen Hunt, Jennifer Wilson, Ed Lea Associate Creative Directors: Jamie Cordwell, Greg Shortall Art Director: Lucyed Hernandez Writers: Dan Cummings, Jennifer Wilson Agency Producer: Sharon Kosokowsky Account Supervisor: Jamie Artkin, Eliza Stoklosa Group Account Director: Wendy Morgado SVP, National Business Leader: Janis Lindenbergs Planners/Strategists: Stephanie Houghton, Kevin McHugh VP, Product & Technology Strategy: Joe Dee SVP & Head of Strategic Planning: Jason Chaney Production House: Descendants Director: John Cullen DOP: Kris Belchevski Producer: Todd Huskisson Editors: Gerrit Van Dyke (Soda Post), David Hicks (Panic & Bob), Michelle Czukar (Panic & Bob) Audio House: Silent Joe Inc. Music Director: Jody Colero

Have questions? Need help?
Contact Zoe Sherwood at 416-408-2300 x237 or zsherwood@brunico.com.