In a development certain to shake up the advertising industry, General Mills’ cereal brand Cheerios has launched a new product and it is targeting Dads.
General Mills’ new Peanut Butter Cheerios have been dubbed “the official cereal of Dadhood” in a new online film.
The two-minute film is accompanied by a tumbler site featuring clips, images, graphics and a hashtag #HowToDad, the campaign aims to create a platform which celebrates Dads.
The campaign also features four 15-second clips, which will run as pre-rolls online. The clips featuring the campaign family walking down the street, in a nod to Reservoir Dogs.
The new campaign marks a major shift for a cereal company, and its agency Tribal Worldwide Toronto believes it’s about time Dads got some recognition.
“Dads do things differently. And they know that when it comes to awesome parenting, fun and responsibility go hand in hand—especially when it comes to breakfast. That’s why, to launch General Mills’ new Peanut Butter Cheerios, we raised our bowls to dadhood. In our online film, we gave dad the mic to show us how it’s done. (He drops it.)”
Yes, this is an ad. But here at Branded Arts Review we believe that ads can be viewed as branded content and as pieces of branded entertainment. In this case it's an ad and an online video, and a new platform for the brand. Most significantly it a fascinating shift in strategy for a cereal brand and one worthy of analysis.
In a category where Mums have long been viewed as the primary grocery shopper and therefore the core target for marketers, Dads have rarely been seen in cereal advertising. When Dad has appeared, he has played the role of the bumbling, foolish or incompetent parent.
Cheerios is looking to set the record straight, and it has created this platform to celebrate Dads as the awesome fun parents, they can and hope to be.
General Mills director of marketing Jason Doolan, told Marketing Magazine Canada the shift in strategy was a response to research from Nielsen Homescan, which found that 43% of Canadian Households now have a man as either the principal or co-grocery shopper. This number has reportedly doubled since 2008.
The research coinicides with a drop in sales by men, with men making up less than half of cereal consumers. Doolan told Strategy Online: “One of the observations we’ve started to make is that in the category’s attempt to appeal to moms for the past 50 years, we’ve lost touch with men. They grew up with it and are still eating cereal today, but they’re just not eating as frequently as they used to.”
Armed with this information General Mills saw an opportunity to be among a small number of brands to acknowledge the role of Dads in the household, and to reap the benefits of celebrating these unsung heroes of the home.
As Josh Stein, creative director at Tribal Worldwide Toronto, said: “We felt it was the right time to give dad his anthem.”
This campaign platform is refreshing, entertaining and just plain clever. In fact, it’s really quite ridiculous that so few brands have done this before.
In many ways Dads are the last frontier of advertising and it’s no surprise that Ad Land has finally woken up to what is a lucrative opportunity. In a torrent of FMCG marketing aimed at Mums, there is a great opportunity to cut-through and target Dads, particularly if you do it well.
The strategy here is very straight forward: let’s get Dads. By targeting this cereal directly at Dads it aims to appeal to Men and make them feel cool for buying the cereal.
At a time where more and more cereal brands are selling their health benefits to Mums, there was no way Peanut Butter Cheerios were going to win in that battle. Instead the brand has gone squarely for men, who are more likely to eat and buy the cereal anyway, and created an inspirational fun ad which targets them directly in a bid to get the product into grocery baskets and into the home. Very savvy work.
It’s witty, aspirational and inclusive it manages to be proud and inspiring without overdoing the cheese-factor. It’s a really smart strategic move by Cheerios and the film has been done well. This is a film that makes you proud to be a dad or makes you want to be a dad.
I think Cheerios have created a great platform with this film and campaign, the challenge will be to build on this and to really own the Dads heartland.
Much like P&G have taken to celebrating Mums, Dove own the Real Beauty platform and a host of brands are battling to empower young women, this is a platform they hope to make their own, but time will tell.
I’m predicting we’ll see this ad at the next Super Bowl and if not we will bear witness to slew of other ads that have been inspired by this.
Dads might not be the last frontier of advertising, but they are certain to be the next big one. Expect to see a lot more ads targeting the man of the home.
What this film lacks in creative boundary pushing it makes up for in strategic genius. I’m a big fan.
Creative Company: Tribal Worldwide Toronto