Can a cereal brand promote effective social advocacy?

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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.

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