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Honey Nut Cheerios Redefines Buzz Marketing

Can one cereal brand’s buzz marketing efforts help bring back the bees? Let’s hope so.

Does the disappearing bee population keep you up at night? It should, given that bees’ pollination efforts are responsible for an enormous amount of the food we eat. The Honey Nut Cheerios marketing team in Canada has decided to take up this cause – by removing “Buzz,” their bee mascot, from their packaging. Is this anti-buzz marketing? It’s an arresting visual that will certainly spur conversations among families in the grocery aisle and around the breakfast table. Important conversations, about what is happening to the bees, what that meanbring-back-the-bees-box-hed-2016s to the world, and what we can do to help.

So what is the brand doing in Canada, to put their money where Buzz’s mouth is? In addition to raising issue awareness, this Monday they are launching a hard-hitting, PSA-style TV spot as part of an integrated campaign. What does this ad messaging have to do with cereal? Nuttin’ honey. Set to a folksy reinterpretation of the Mr. Mister song, “Take These Broken Wings,” the un-commercial shows the great pains animal-lovers have taken to protect and save different species – from administering fluids to a little kitten to dragging a beached shark back into the ocean. Now it’s time to tend to the small black and yellow creatures who have such a big impact on our day-to-day lives. “The bees need us,” says the type treatment overlaying the beautiful music. Then comes the call to action. And it’s not, “Buy a box of cereal and we’ll donate to the save-the-bees cause.” It’s a much more grass roots initiative, calling for everyone to take part in a bigger picture effort. “Join us in planting 35 million wildflowers to help the bees.” Why 35 million? That’s one wildflower for each person living in Canada. Very nice messaging.

The spot ends by telling viewers they can do up to 3 things: share the video (to help spread the buzz about bees); get free seeds (and help plant 35 million wildflowers); learn more (about how you can bring back the bees). And just like that, Honey Nut Cheerios has become part of something much bigger, much more meaningful, than it ever has been before. Hey, if they benefit from sales because of this buzz marketing campaign – and they will, because parents will feel good sharing the messaging with kids, earth-lovers will want to spread the word, and more people will hear about Honey Nut Cheerios in a way they haven’t before – good for them.

This is one smart Brand Elevation campaign. Beyond the removal of their mascot from their packaging, the emotionally stirring commercial, the offer to give out free wildflower seeds, and the educational component, the brand is also giving away 50,000 free wildflower seed packs to visitors at the Canada Blooms festival. Social programming, contesting, and more can be discovered on the site BringBackTheBees.ca.

Now let’s hope this buzz marketing spreads south a bit to the United States… #BringBackTheBees

Buzz marketing at its finest
Honey Nut Cheerios is bringing big attention to the disappearance of our little friends, the bees.


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