Cereal Partners Worldwide (CPW), the Nestlé/General Mills joint venture marketing 50+ brands of cereal in approximately 130 markets, started reviewing their PR efforts to find ways of strengthening their PR branding activity on a global basis. In the process, they’ve contacted several PR firms to begin the RFP process. They are looking currently at several with the plan of whittling their list down to a smaller pool.
CPW was formed in 1990 and currently markets such brands as Fitness, Cheerios, and Nesquik, everywhere except the US and Canada — where GM directly sells their brands. CPW ranks second behind Kellogg in the global breakfast cereals market.
Aimée DuBrule, CPW head of corporate communication, said they are “working to strengthen our brand PR capability within the business. As part of this process, we periodically review our agency support model to ensure an optimal support structure.”
At this point, it is unknown who the contenders will be or even who may have been invited to submit an application. So let’s look at some of the campaigns that have been covered on behalf of these companies in the past and what PR firms helped create them? Here’s some of that information.
General Mills owns an interest in a lot of companies such as Haagen Dazs, El Paso, Yoplait, and Betty Crocker, but we will just be looking at the cereal campaigns. Some of those cereals include Golden Grahams, Wheaties, Shreddies, Cheerios (in as many as 12 varieties), and Shredded Wheat. There’s also one they recently added back in their line all because of a consumer-driving social media campaign asking for it to be available again, French Toast Crunch.
The Jeffrey Group
Breakfast cereal traditionally has been an “American” food, so outside the U.S. and Canada, many of the campaigns have not been so much about specific cereals, but in convincing the public that it is a good and Healthy choice. Such is the case with a campaign run by The Jeffrey Group. They ran the Cafe da Manha campaign in Brazil, a country that is on the health freak side of the scale and has typically viewed breakfast cereal as something contributing to childhood obesity.
The campaign focused on teaching mothers of young children about the health benefits of breakfast cereals. They traveled to 8 Brazilian cities with many thought leaders and health and fitness experts to present broadcasts and panel discussions with mothers impressing the benefits of breakfast in general and how cereal along with fruits can provide a healthy and sustaining meal.
Coyne PR has represented several of the General Mills cereal brands in the U.S. including Chex and Cheerios. One campaign, in particular, was when NBC’s the Biggest Loser and GM’s MultiGrain Cheerios formed a partnership to bring exclusive healthy recipes, tools, and tips to viewer by directing them to a unique site with that information – www.MultiGrainCheerios.com. The site also provided opportunities for fans to chat online with the latest eliminated contestant on the show during the campaign. Through the course of their work, they got 65 million impressions on the site.
Honey Nut Cheerios
On July 4, 2011, seven PR firms came together working with General Mills in the U.S. to promote Honey Nut Cheerios as the nation’s number one cereal of choice. Nielsen data showed it as being the top seller. GM felt that kickoff date was the best for their “Thanks for making us America’s favorite!” campaign. One of the parts of it was their Billion O giveaway, giving an estimated billion individual HN Cheerios grouped in sample single-serving boxes.
There was also a large effort pushing information, the company, and lots of giveaways on social media platforms. Gifts, other than the boxes of cereal included t-shirts and “cereal celebration kits.” These kits included items so the receiver could host a party for other cereal lovers and the hosts could take pics of the party and submit it to GM so it could be used as part of marketing materials in the following months.
The seven firms involved in this campaign include Zeus Jones, which handled digital and social media tasks for Big G, Zenith Media, which is part of the Publicis Groupe through ZenithOptimedia Division, Coyne Public Relations, and Clockwork created the online banners, some of them including the HN Cheerio fans from social media platforms.
As well as the above, Bromley Communications did the PR for Spanish-speaking HN lovers, Ultra provided some of the packaging and design elements of the campaign, and Saatchi & Saatchi worked on ads for general audiences.
Hello Cereal Lovers
Late in 2013 General Mills launched a National Cereal Lover’s week. This campaign established a push for cereal, including all other cereal brands in the process as part of goodwill.
According to verasoni.com at the time, “Cold cereal is still the number one choice for breakfast in the U.S., consumed by 92% of households (per Mintel), with sales topping $9 billion over the last year (per Nielsen). The ready-to-eat U.S. cereal market as a whole has $10 billion in annual sales — of which General Mills has a 40% share. However, boxed cereals have seen flat sales and declining volumes over the past decade, according to a recent report by Rabobank on U.S. cereal trends, which attributes this primarily to a shift toward the wide variety of other convenient breakfast choices available today.” The key PR firm working on this campaign was Verasoni Worldwide, a marketing firm in Montclair, NJ.