Cheerios' mascot is notably absent from latest campaign
- General Mills' Cheerios brand is removing its iconic BuzzBee character from Honey Nut Cheerios packaging this spring, according to a company press release.
- The reason for the move is to call attention to the issue of pollinators like honey bees disappearing by the millions worldwide.
- The campaign includes a hashtag, #BringBackTheBees, and Cheerios is calling for people to plant 100 million wildflower seeds as well as to support pollinator conservation. Visitors to a dedicated landing page on the Cheerios web site for the campaign will be able to order free wildflower seeds and learn more about bees. Planting wildflowers aims to give bees access to wildflower nectar and pollen.
Cheerios latest campaign actually directly affects the brand, as 30% of the ingredients in General Mills' products rely on pollinators, per the company. The wildflower element of the campaign comes from a loss of honey bee habitat totaling more than nine million acres of grass and prairie that has been converted to cropland since 2008.
Cheerios' use of a hashtag to raise awareness and virality for the pollinator cause highlights the growing importance of tying elements from across marketing channels to get the most out of a campaign. The new physical packaging will actually include BuzzBee in an unusual way — though the traditional image of the mascot will be removed from Cheerios boxes, a blank silhouette will still be present.
While the Cheerios campaign draws attention to an issue that impacts its business, it could also make for effective marketing, as campaigns built around issues like the environment are shown to connect with consumers. A December 2015 study by Omnicom Group's Cone Communications found that Gen Y will spend up to 70% more on brands that support causes.
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