General Mills / Honey Nut Cheerios
Bring Back The Bees
Increase baseline sales by 1-2% after several years of flat growth and various strategic attempts to boost the brand.
Honey Nut Cheerios (HNC) is the top performing cereal brand for General Mills; however, in an increasingly competitive environment, and a category primarily bought and sold on deal, the brand was at risk of losing significant ground. Its core consumer was aging and no appropriate strategy was in place to attract a younger consumer to carry the brand into the future.
We needed to find a way to show millennials that we cared as much about our collective world as we did selling our cereal to them.
Through significant qualitative and quantitative work we identified that we very much shared a common interest –devastating effects of a rapidly declining honey bee population, which is responsible for the pollination of 1/3 of our fruits and vegetables.
For HNC, honey is in our name and is a key ingredient in our flagship product, not to mention Buzz, our beloved mascot, is himself the most recognizable honeybee in the world. Just as the Teddy Bear made people care about a declining bear population by anthropomorphizing a feared animal, Buzz held the human qualities to make people energize around a campaign to save the bees. Which is why he had to goaway.
One Line Idea: We need to bring back the bees
Key Media: Online Video, TV, Paid Social Posts, PR, Events, Packaging, CRM, Digital,Social
As iconic and loved as Buzz the Bee is, he needed to go away to make people feel the impact of a declining bee population. Nowhere is Buzz more meaningful than on the Honey Nut Cheerios box on the store shelf. Removing Buzz from the box would draw attention to an important cause, but also draw attention to a box where it mattered most – in the cluttered cereal aisle in store. Buzz disappearing from the box would become the center-point for all communications.
But, it wasn’t enough just to raise the issue without a constructive solution. We invited consumers to #bringbackthebees by registering online to have wildflower seeds sent to their house to plant a viable food source for the honeybees. We hit our goal of 35 million in the first week – then revised it to 110 million which also disappeared fast.
To drive awareness to the program, we created an online video, which featured popular social media videos of humans saving various animals, leaving the viewer with the notion of the dire need of saving the bees.
Baseline sales have increased 11.8% -- original targeted goal 1-2%
We exceeded our stated 35 million seeds in the first week and distributed 115 million seeds to Canadians
The video has been viewed 10 million times online
Significant news coverage of the program across the globe (Time Magazine, Fast Company, etc.), most interestingly and beneficially using the box image to headline the article
CHIEF CREATIVE OFFICERS: Peter Ignazi, Carlos Moreno
CREATIVE DIRECTORS: Sean Barlow, Ed Lea
ASSOCIATE CREATIVE DIRECTORS: Yusong Zhang, Dhaval Bhatt
ART DIRECTOR: Yusong Zhang
COPYWRITER: Dhaval Bhatt
INTERACTIVE DESIGNERS: Derek Sharpe, Gustavo Oregel
AGENCY PRODUCER: Sam Benson
ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES: Jennifer Self, Isabelle Morin
ACCOUNT DIRECTORS: Jessica DeSantis, Paula Badran
VP, CLIENT LEADER: Wendy Morgado
SVP, NATIONAL BUSINESS LEADER: Janis Lindenbergs
DIRECTOR, STRATEGY: Kevin McHugh
CHIEF STRATEGY OFFICER: Jason Chaney
PRODUCTION COMPANY: SammyB Productions
EDITING HOUSE: Soda
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: Mina Jang
EDITORS: Nicole Lawr, Gerrit Van Dyke
MUSIC SUPERVISOR (SUPERGROUP SONIC BRANDING CO): David Hayman
TRANSFER/ONLINE: The Vanity
AUDIO HOUSE: RMW Music
ASSOCIATE MARKETING MANAGER (GENERAL MILLS CANADA): Kayla Rochkin
ASSOCIATE MARKETING DIRECTOR (GENERAL MILLS CANADA): Amanda Hsueh
DIRECTOR OF MARKETING (GENERAL MILLS CANADA): Emma Eriksson
VP MARKETING (GENERAL MILLS CANADA): Dale Storey