Canada’s bees need help. So Honey Nut Cheerios, a General Mills cereal product that has made the bee and honey a central part of its bran...
Canada’s bees need help. So Honey Nut Cheerios, a General Mills cereal product that has made the bee and honey a central part of its brand signature, is calling upon Canadians to help bring them back.
In the face of unstable bee populations, Honey Nut Cheerios has launched “Bring Back The Bees,” a multi-pronged marketing campaign that aims to raise awareness of this important cause and to inspire and empower Canadians to help support Canada’s bees by planting wildflowers in their communities.
In a bold move, General Mills has added an important statement to the campaign by removing Buzz, the beloved Honey Nut Cheerios mascot, from the front of the box for a 6-week period to drive home the brand’s message that bees need our help.
“This is the first time in the brand’s history that we’ve taken ‘Buzz’ off the box,” said Emma Eriksson, Director of Marketing for General Mills Canada. “One third of the foods we depend on for our survival are made possible by the natural pollination work that bees provide. With ongoing losses in bee populations being reported across Canada, we wanted to leverage our packaging to draw attention to this important cause and issue a call to action to Canadians to help plant 35 million wildflowers – one for every person in Canada.”
In support of this mission, Honey Nut Cheerios is giving away free wildflower seeds packs and is encouraging consumers across Canada to visit BringBackTheBees.ca to request their free seed packs in the mail. The brand will also have an onsite activation at Canada Blooms where Honey Nut Cheerios brand ambassadors will be handing out 50,000 Veseys wildflower seed packs to visitors of the Festival.
“General Mills' decision to draw attention to the issue of declining bee populations marks the continuation of its commitment to purpose-based marketing, which means brands will go beyond traditional statements such as product benefit in order to align with what`s really important to consumers," says Cossette Chief Creative Officer Peter Ignazi. "By taking the bold step of removing a well-established brand symbol from its packaging, General Mills is further challenging marketing's conventional thinking to underscore its point."
What’s the Plan?
A fully integrated marketing and communications campaign which includes promotional packaging, a new TV spot and online video, a microsite, contesting, consumer sampling and PR will support the program. The campaign is being spearheaded by the online video, launching today.
The 60-second TV spot uses a compilation of viral videos of humans helping animals of all sizes and environments – from dogs to elephants – to demonstrate that it’s in our nature to help. The video recognizes another species that now needs the help of humans: The honey bee. It cuts to real-world headlines on the global dangers of honey bee loss and a call to join Honey Nut Cheerios in planting 35 million wildflowers to help save the bees. The video features a cover of the Mr. Mister song, Broken Wings, performed by members of Toronto’s Choir! Choir! Choir!
How to help
“We know Canadians are concerned about the state of things for our bees. Planting wildflowers is an easy, tangible way they can help – and it can be a fun, family activity as well,” said Eriksson.
Renowned bee expert Marla Spivak, professor of Entomology at the University of Minnesota, is lending her support to the initiative.
“There are a range of threats to Canada’s bee population, but among the biggest are the elimination of flowering plants and ground cover in urban and rural areas alike,” Dr. Spivak said. “The goal of planting 35 million wildflowers will go a long way toward helping provide the natural habitat and food supply that is essential for healthy, sustainable bee colonies.”
Several agencies are supporting Honey Nut Cheerios with its Bring Back the Bees campaign. The national advertising campaign was developed by Cossette and all media planning and buying is being managed by Cossette Media. Tribal Worldwide is promoting the campaign through General Mills’ Life Made Delicious website and its social platforms and public relations is being handled by Veritas Communications. Packaging creative was handled by Hunter Straker.
Ad Agency: Cossette, Toronto