Multi-Grain Cheerios talks to women about dieting

Multi-Grain Cheerios wants to get Canadian women talking about dieting.

In an effort to create a dialogue with diet-fatigued women, General Mills Canada has launched a multimedia campaign for its cereal brand that it hopes will encourage women share their experiences and feelings about dieting via an online hub.

The ultimate objective, according to General Mills Canada vice-president of marketing Dale Storey , is for the brand will help foster a “movement” that believes “healthy, balanced living is a much more effective way to managing one’s weight and health than the yo-yo of deprivation dieting.”

A national TV commercial kicked off the effort last week. The 30-second spot, developed by Cossette – General Mills’ creative agency – shows young girls having fun and fusing those scenes with copy that uses dieting terms. For example, “She will never stress over yo-yoing.” The last line of the spot is “Because she will never diet.”

The awareness campaign is meant to make adults more mindful of their impact on young girls’ perceptions of dieting.

“We want this generation of women to be the last to diet,” said Jason Doolan, General Mills director of marketing, cereal, in a release.

To help further spread the word, Multi-Grain Cheerios has partnered with Big Brothers Big Sisters to back its Go Girls! mentoring program, which educates girls 12-14 about living healthy and is one of the organization’s fastest-growing mentoring programs.

The first rendition of the campaign’s online hub,, will be updated with more robust content by the end of the month, said Storey. This hub is where the manifesto will eventually be exposed to the campaign’s “diet-fatigued” target, which Storey estimates to be generally over 30 years old.

“While our product can play a role in this, the way we’re approaching it is very much as a service as opposed to ‘You should eat Multi-Grain Cheerios because of this,’” said Storey. “It’s more ‘Multi-Grain Cheerios believes this’ and we’re hoping that… [people will] appreciate the message and want to be part of that conversation.”

When asked about the challenges and sensitivities around establishing the right tone in a campaign about women’s weight and, ultimately, perceptions they may have about themselves – much like the recent “Dove Real Beauty Sketches” film – Storey said he wants the tone “to raise the questions as opposed to jam the answer into people.

“I think it needs to be an invitation for a conversation about this subject matter with some facts that people might not be aware of,” he said.

Storey said there will be a lot of PR support around the program (which Citizen Optimum is handling) and bloggers will be leveraged to extend its reach and credibility. “We’re going to be as visible as we can with this,” he said.

He anticipates the campaign will run for a very long time. “This is the start of something that will last for hopefully years and not months, and it’ll be core to what this brand is all about,” he said. “Ultimately I think Multi-Grain Cheerios needs to become a thought leader in the arena of dieting.”

The multiplatform initiative, for which ZenithOptimedia handled the media buy, also includes on-pack messaging.

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