Can a cereal brand promote effective social advocacy?

Within the last decade, Cheerios has taken a shift in its advertising to promote inclusiveness and to embrace an ever-increasing change of diversity within society. For example in 2013, Cheerios had a commercial with a biracial family, while still having the main message of health and love in its advertisement. Cheerios then made another commercial with the same “family” after getting a big profile and various responses from the first ad. Additionally in 2013, Cheerios had another commercial that included a white homosexual couple and their adopted African daughter. Initially the advertisement was meant for the Canadian market, but it eventually made its way into U.S. market. With these commercials, General Mills and Cheerios are still targeting their main consumers, families, but they are positioning their message beyond the “archetypical” American family that has been prevalent in advertisement throughout the years. They allows them to reach out to Millenials, who are just starting to have families of their own, and who have grown with varied social and cultural access via the internet and more liberal programming and media.


In addition, with the rise of the prominence of Corporate Social Responsibility within organizations, General Mills has used Cheerios as one of its flagship brands that incorporates socially conscious advertising. Cheerios most recently launched a promotion that has them removing the bee from their Honey Nut Cheerios boxes, and they preparing to expand further with this focus if things do not improve. Through this new promotion, Cheerios can inform the public of a growing issue and get social capital for their brand, while at the same time protecting their bottom line. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, a third of the world’s food would disappear without honeybees. This affects Cheerios as 30 percent of General Mills’ products, especially Honey Nut Cheerios, rely on pollination. It is only a matter of time before we start seeing Cheerios commercials focusing on this growing environmental problem.


Cheerios has been one of the cereal brands that have taken pro-active approach to CSR and trying to deliver a healthy, socially conscious, and inclusive message. It’s parent company, General Mills has used Cheerios popularity and positive brand image to emphasize its Corporate Social responsibility goals of helping the planet, the community, and the workplace.

How will Major League Rugby succeed?

Rugby, the fastest growing sport in America, the future of American sports, etc., etc. It’s all been said before and previous attempts to form a professional league have failed before any traction could be made. The latest offering, Pro Rugby, seemed like the best bet to get a professional foothold in the states, but it ended faltering after one moderately successful season, leaving behind a trail of broken promises and unpaid coaches, players, and staff. Pro Rugby even had a lot of momentum going for it, coming on the heals of Rugby Sevens premiering in the Olympics, the US national team garnering winning exposure, and many international teams selling out NFL stadiums for exhibition, such as when Ireland historically beat the world’s #1 team, the New Zealand All Blacks, in a sold-out Soldier Field in Chicago. There have been hundreds of local clubs that helped the sport to take hold in the U.S. during the past decade, and now comes the latest attempt to form a professional rugby league in the United States, Major League Rugby.

The success of this latest attempt to from this new professional league will need to rely on better marketing and outreach efforts than previous attempts. Pro Rugby relied on social media for their marketing efforts, but they were still unable to gain a market outside already established rugby enthusiasts. Just like Pro Rugby, major League Rugby has already established its social media presence and is likewise working in conjunction with the rugby governing body in the United States, so what can major League Rugby do to further differentiate its offering in order to generate more fans and exposure, especially with forming no teams in the traditional rugby hotbeds of the Northeast and the West coast?

It appears that by foregoing major rugby areas, where they know fans will already find a way to tune in; Major League Rugby is attempting a more ground-up approach to gaining more exposure. They have stated that “Developing the game of rugby is at the core of the MLR model, and MLR will create local destinations where rugby fans and families can come together to celebrate the highest levels of the American game. MLR stadia will be gathering places for rugby fans and local communities to gather around the game. By connecting the national to the local, MLR will invite America to join the unique, vibrant rugby family and discover its core values: integrity, passion, solidarity, discipline and respect.” They have a very ambitious mission statement, and they appear to have a very strong model to build communities around teams, much like Major League Soccer has done, but also gaining national exposure should still be emphasized. It is in this effort Major League needs to really work at in order to increase its brand exposure. They need to find a way to broadcast games beyond just online streaming. NBC sports and Fox sports are stations that shows European, International, and US intercollegiate rugby, so finding a way to partner with those stations will go a long way to reaching the American sports mainstream.

How did an underperforming soccer club become one of the soccer world’s most popular?

There is a soccer club based in Germany that boasts a global fan base, songs made about them, and rock artists wearing their shirts on stage while performing at festivals, but this is not Bayern Munich or even newly popular darlings, Borussia Dortmund. The club isn’t even in the Bundesliga, the top-flight of the German soccer pyramid. The club hasn’t played in the top division since 2002. Instead, club currently applies its trade in the second tier 2.Bundesliga, playing in a moderate stadium in Hamburg. The club called Fußball-Club St Pauli von 1910 e.v., better known as FC St. Pauli, has become popular through its associations with the alternative rock and punk scene worldwide, espousing a club culture that is as anti-racist, anti-fascist, anti-homophobic and anti-sexist. Despite the club’s moderate success on the field, the club is widely recognized for having a distinctive culture and has developed a large popular following as one of Germany’s “Kult” clubs.

 It all began in the 1980s when the club decided to embrace an image that was associated with the club’s location near the Reeperbahn area of Hamburg’s dock area. The club embraced the scene that surrounded them in the St. Pauli district, developing a brand image that embraced the alternative, left-leaning politics, and social activism. Furthermore, they adopted a rebellious, outlaw symbol for their unofficial club emblem, the skull and crossbones, a symbol associated with the St. Pauli district’s Baltic pirate past. The club was also the first German club to officially ban right-wing activities and hooliganism. With the club’s matches essentially turning into must attend events with a raucous, protest party atmosphere, St. Pauli has gone from having crowd averages of 1,600 in 1981 to selling out their stadium of 20,000 by the 90s. They are one of the few clubs outside the major ones in Germany with a 100% attendance rate, filling the stadium with the sounds of AC/DC, and celebrating goals by playing Blur.

source: Getty Images

FC St. Pauli has been able to market its club’s brand and ideology s into a popular club beyond the borders of Germany. Rock and punk bands around the world have embraced and partnered with the club essentially as “brand ambassadors,” such notable bands as the Dropkick Murphys, the Gaslight Anthem, and Turbonegro. Popular punk rock band, Bad Religion even plays at charity matches for the club, when they’re not busy playing festivals. Even other global brands, such as Nike, have sought to partner with the club to access the network of fans that the club can influence. In Nike’s case, they partnered with St. Pauli to make commemorative shoes. St. Pauli has been able to cultivate a strong brand image by adopting an ideology that they have firmly held onto, going so far as being the first club in Germany to integrate a set of Fundamental Principles, to dictate how the club is run, going beyond just the soccer, with its members frequently participating in demonstrations across the city. The brand that the club has cultivated by presenting a strong message has given it a fan base greater than a number of Bundesliga clubs, with fan groups around Europe, the U.K., and the U.S.


Why Have The Best Chocolate In the World If You Don’t Promote It?

When we think of Chocolate in the United States, consumers typically think of the go to brands; Hersey’s, Nestle, etc., and when consumers think of better quality chocolate, they think of Europe, notably from Switzerland; Toblerone, Lindt, and the list can go on and on. Chocolate consumers do not typically think of small country in South America as being known for having the world’s best chocolate. Ecuador, a country nestled in the Andes Mountains, between Colombia and Peru, and better known for the Galapagos and for being a popular expat retirement destination, has arguably the best chocolate in the world. However, there hasn’t been much significant effort in really promoting Ecuadorian chocolate as a whole. Instead, different brands have focused on winning awards and maintaining an “artisanal” and “luxury” brand image.

  Ecuador was once the world’s largest exporter of cocoa until the beginning of the 20th Century. Plant disease and the rise of new cultivations in British and French colonies across Africa and Asia saw Ecuador lose its top spot in the early 1900s. Resulting in the loss of appeal of Cocoa to farmers for more lucrative crops such as coffee and bananas. However, Chocolate has seen resurgence in popularity in Ecuador, leading to luxurious and expensive variants, and to tourists taking chocolate tasting tours. Some tourists are even willing to spend large amounts of money to taste samples of chocolate from rare cocao beans. Ecuadorian Chocolate beans have developed a varied classification based on an environment and “terroir.” Only about 5% of the cacao beans grown in the world are gourmet or “fine” cacao beans, and roughly 60% of these fine cacao beans are grown in Ecuador. These beans give the chocolate that they produce a produce floral and fruity. Furthermore, the flavor and size of the beans varies depending on the environment and regions in which the beans are grown.

Ecuador chocolate brands have become renowned around the world over for its high quality, leading to numerous awards over the years. However, the farmers of the chocolate have rarely tasted the benefits of this success. In fact the market share of such high-quality chocolate is minimal compared to the massed produced brands from the larger global conglomerates. Even in Ecuador, most of the chocolate sold in markets are mass-produced chocolate made by the global brands such as Nestle. A contributing issue is that the marketing efforts of the producer of these high-quality brands have been towards tourists and to promoting the chocolate produced as “luxury” chocolate. Despite the government spending a significant amount on a marketing campaign for the country’s tourism and some of its other commodities, Ecuadorian chocolate is still unknown to most consumers who aren’t chocolate connoisseurs or who shop at “specialty” markets.

Needless to say, better marketing communication can make Ecuador chocolate more than the “best chocolate you’ve never known about” or the “next big thing” in the Chocolate world. The “luxury” and “artisanal” image that the notable high-quality chocolate brands, such as Pacari and Republica Del Cacao, are promoting might be helping their bottom line, but is limiting the growth of the Chocolate industry in Ecuador. Greater effort must be made to get the world to know more about the chocolate coming from Ecuador in order to gain better traction in the global market and to help local farmers profit more from their cacao.

Marketing Based on a Country’s Economic Development

When communicating a product or service to a new country, the country’s level of development and economic robustness can have a significant effect on how to promote a brand. Whether a country is highly developed, developing, or underdeveloped will affect how marketers develop promotional and advertising methods, as well as determine what number of methods and strategies that they may choose for effective brand communication.

To begin with, it is important to know the level of economic growth and consumer demand within the country you wish to operate in. Furthermore, the level of economic development presents challenges, as the marketer must its marketing efforts based country’s citizens’ level of understanding. An underdeveloped economy, infrastructure, and under-educated populace might be more of a hindrance than a benefit to your marketing efforts. The same could be said for a highly educated populace and highly developed economy. Marketers must have the ability to examine carefully the level of economic development to understand what needs must be met when communicating their brand, product, or service. Furthermore, when conducting a marketing campaign, you are obliged to study the growth potential of the economy in order to prepare for shifts and changes that can affect your marketing communication. By being able to properly forecast potential growth or hindrance of the local economy, you can properly forecast the level and effectiveness of your own marketing efforts.

The ability and use of the resources of the country will also impact how you decide to communicate within a country. Is the country’s economy advanced enough where there is a robust network of communication capabilities (television, print, internet) with the appropriate logistics mechanisms and value chains for your usage? Are there companies that you can partner with, contract, or outright absorb for your own company? Can you use local salespeople and marketers, or will you have to bring in your own people to get the job done? These are all questions that must be asked, and knowing what resources are or are not available to you can go along way for a determining your costs, measuring expectations, and having a successful marketing campaign. Having the appropriate knowledge of resources and using those resources appropriately can ensure that you aren’t hampered by local barriers within the country that you wish to market in. To communicate a successful marketing campaign, you cannot make the mistake of assuming that the resources in the country of which you are going into are similar to the resources in the country of which you are used to operating in.