Why Cheerios’ Cause Marketing Campaign Is Brilliant and On-Brand

17352373_1392724360779542_3461532952384427866_nNot that long ago, my step-daughter and I were talking about the alarming decline in the bee population and the lasting implications a lack of bees will have on our world. The conversation left me feeling a bit helpless about what we could possibly do to change things.

Well, now I can’t wait to tell her that Cheerios will help save the bees.

In one of the best branded giving campaigns, I’ve seen in a while, Cheerios and General Mills launched their campaign to #BringBacktheBees where they will mail consumers 500 wildflower seeds they can plant to attract honeybees. They’ve already given away 1 million seeds and set a new goal for 1 billion.

But, the brand isn’t just giving away seeds; they are transforming their own best practices with a commitment to ensure their oat farms host about 3,300 acres of nectar- and pollen-rich wildflowers by 2020.

This is a strong example of smart and strategic community engagement because it meets the key criteria checklist for good cause marketing. The program:

  • solves a real and urgent need
  • is tied to their brand (the honey bee in Honey Nut Cheerios)
  • has a measurable metric for success (the number of seeds given)
  • demonstrates a corporate commitment (adding nectar to oat farms)
  • engages the consumer by providing seeds and planting instruction
  • has a social media sharing component via “ownable” hashtag and photos/videos of people’s gardens growing to drive greater awareness and keep the story going

Cheerios has also done a fantastic job of ensuring this give-back campaign hits on all brand touch points by removing the honey bee from Honey Nut Cheerios packaging and developing commercials focused on people wondering where the bee is and why he is gone. The stunt emphasizes their message and creates curiosity around the campaign.

And, it’s worked. Media from all walks of life have covered the campaign and Cheerios/General Mills has found a new way to show they are a company that cares.

Well done, General Mills. I wish I’d thought of that.

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