Honey Nut Cheerios Mascot Goes Missing as Brand Addresses Bee Crisis

In one of the most obvious yet still cool examples of cause marketing, Honey Nut Cheerios in Canada is pledging to help find a solution to unstable bee populations—by launching a whole integrated campaign around the issue, including removing its “Buzz” bee mascot from the packaging for a limited time.

“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.”

The supporting campaign, by Cossette, also includes a new TV spot and online video, a microsite, contesting, consumer sampling and PR. The campaign launched March 14 with the online video.

The brand is giving away free wildflower seeds packs and encouraging people across Canada to visit BringBackTheBees.ca and request free seed packs in the mail.

bring-back-the-bees-box-hed-2016The brand will also be on hand at the Canada Blooms festival, handing out 50,000 Veseys wildflower seed packs to visitors.

“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.”

The BringBackTheBees campaign will run from March to July.

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