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After a woman starts her day with a bowl of breakfast cereal, she has the oomph to make everything she touches a bit better, a new Honey Bunches of Oats ad shows. Her steps down the street transform the dull pavement with pops of bright color, and a man's dog suddenly turns into a trio of pups after the woman's simple wave.
In a fresh campaign launched on Oct. 12, the Post brand is reminding consumers that much like the components of its cereal blend — crispy flakes, crunchy clusters and honey — each person adds a unique ingredient to the world. "Make a Bunch Happen" aims to demonstrate how Honey Bunches of Oats can combat feelings of being "half empty" by encouraging people to nurture themselves in order to positively impact others. The effort also signals how the brand is embracing mornings more broadly, working to help folks develop healthy habits to kickstart the day by fueling up at breakfast, reciting morning affirmations and carving out a few quiet minutes for "me time."
It's the brand's first national campaign in three years, and it arrives at a turning point for both Honey Bunches of Oats and the world, according to Troy Burrows, executive vice president of creative at agency Barkley.
"I think this idea of giving yourself something that makes you feel good, that feels like a treat, that puts you in the right head space to go out into the world and do all of the things — it's something we wanted to lean into," Burrows said. "We've been exploring this idea in terms of a balance between moment and momentum."
Embedding the brand into morning routines
Honey Bunches of Oats' campaign includes two 15-second cuts from the full anthem spot, which will run nationally for the foreseeable future on TV networks including ESPN, HGTV and Bravo. The integrated campaign spans digital channels as well, including social video clips and posts on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok about "happiness hacks" and morning "me time" affirmations.
Placing these encouraging messages on social platforms is a clever way to get people to begin their day thinking about the Post brand — and is a tactic Burrows says could counter "doom scrolling."
"It is about playing back to people why they deserve that 'me time,'" Burrows said. "Our cereal in the bowl is this moment of feel good that's going to help you go out and seize the day and make a bunch happen."
Extending "Make a Bunch Happen" to radio, the campaign's media buy includes an iHeartRadio partnership with morning show personalities like Danielle Monaro (Elvis Duran and the Morning Show), Christine Nagy (Cubby and Christine Mornings on 106.7 Lite FM) and Carolina Bermudez (Carolina with Greg T. in the Morning on 103.5 KTU). As early risers, the radio show hosts will share how Honey Bunches of Oats helps them bring their best selves to their work and the world.
There is also potential for future installments depending on other marketing priorities and how the campaign morphs in the year ahead, according to Brand Manager Kristin DeRock.
"This is a really uplifting campaign during a time when we could all use some positivity," DeRock said. "It is just a daily reminder that each ingredient brings something special to the bunch. If you think about how that translates into your own life, when all of us bring something unique to the bunch and to the world, that's when we can truly start to transform things and move the world forward."
It's the first work from Honey Bunches of Oats' partnership with Barkley, which landed the brand as a client in late 2020. The agency at the same time snapped up three other Post cereals, including Honeycomb, Great Grains and the Pebbles family of brands.
Evolving past product pushing
"Make a Bunch Happen" espouses a positive, upbeat tone in contrast with the typical ad this time last year. That sunnier mood aligns with past creative efforts by the brand, such as a 2018 campaign that featured a cameo from Diana Hunter, a retired employee and frequent spokesperson in Honey Bunches of Oats ads. The "Rhymes with Delicious" push showcased people in different settings breaking into song, including a dad with twin daughters under a breakfast fort and a woman taking a break from her desk job.
Despite still focusing on Honey Bunches of Oats' place at the proverbial breakfast table, "Make a Bunch Happen" marks an evolution in the brand's approach, shifting gears from 2018's more product-oriented campaign, per Burrows.
"When you think about 'Rhymes with Delicious,' that was very selfish in how [we touted how] amazing the product was from beginning to end," Burrows said. "What we feel like we're tapping into this time is a little bit of what's going on inside the bowl and how that impacts you, but also pushing beyond what's in the bowl and encouraging people to make an impact on the world."