Using #BringBackTheBees for Social Profitability

Brands take action to raise awareness

‘Buzz’ went missing from Honey Nut Cheerios boxes. Burt’s Bees erased the letter ‘B’ on limited-edition lip balm packaging, advertising and from social media posts.

Two new awareness campaigns came into market, designed to put the focus on the serious global decline of the honeybee population and other pollinator species facing extinction, which puts one-third of our food supply in danger. The efforts of these companies showcased how business, design and cause marketing could come together for Social Profitability.

Both companies used smart package design and integrated ad campaigns, including microsites, videos, social media, out-of-home advertising and public relations, to bring heightened awareness to the plight of the bee.

#BringBackTheBees was the common hashtag employed by both campaigns to educate consumers that with deteriorating bee colony health, bees everywhere have been disappearing by the millions.

Food company General Mills, maker of Honey Nut Cheerios, underscored the disappearance of the bee population by temporarily removing its mascot, Buzz, from Canadian cereal box packaging.

In a press release, Emma Eriksson, Director of Marketing for General Mills Canada said, “With ongoing losses in bee populations being reported across Canada, we’re issuing a call to action to Canadians to help plant 35 million wildflowers – one for every person in Canada.”

“It’s all about honey—that’s how we sweeten the cereal… and then our mascot is a bee. We thought, ‘wow, somebody ought to take action on this’ and we think that Honey Nut Cheerios would be a really great champion for this cause.”

Targeted at parents and grandparents, advertising encouraged them to go to the Honey Nut Cheerios microsite and register to receive free wildflower seed packets from Vesey’s Seeds, to plant in their own gardens, courtesy of General Mills Canada. By engaging online, they would also be entered to win one of five $5,000 wildflower garden makeovers.

Burt’s Bees, a Clorox Co. brand, took similar action with the goal to increase product sales and spread the growth of wildflowers for pollination in the U.S.

Ads starring Lea Michele, encouraged women to “Lose the Bs” in their social media posts, with the #BringBackTheBees hashtag.

The Burt’s Bees erased every letter ‘B’ from its packaging and added the hashtag to limited-edition Pink Grapefruit, Coconut and Pear, and Wild Cherry lip balm flavours that most relied on pollinators.

Targeting a younger, female demographic between 25 and 34, social media was key to where and how they communicated.

Approximately 70% of the media budget was allocated to paid social including Instagram, Twitter-promoted tweets, and Whitelisted celebrity tweets, with the remainder going to online pre-roll and BuzzFeed.

For every post, Clorox Co committed to planting 1,000 wild flowers in the U.S., with the goal of planting 1 billion flowers as a result of the campaign.

Proving once again, that targeting the right demographic with the right message, to bring awareness to a cause for Social Profitability can be – so worth it!

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