106 & Park co-host Bow Wow was one of the lucky recipients of the “Must Be The Honey” LeBron X
SUMMARY: After years of invisible health+taste ads, we reframed HNC into an “Entertainment Cereal”. Must-Be-The-Honey saw the largest sales jump in the brand’s history (+4%). Our launch video received 5.7 million views on YouTube alone.
Fewer people were eating cereal and even fewer were talking about it. It was time for Buzz, the bee, to come out his hive and into pop culture to create some brand salience.
We looked at every brand study (quant/qual, ethnographies, taste-tests), conducted social listening and desk research. However, the best insight came from analyzing cross-purchasing behavior: Honey Nut Cheerios' direct competition were fun-tasting kid cereals, not other adult flakes. Joy was the feeling people got from eating the cereal. Plus, current and prospective users over-indexed in passive and active consumption of over-the-top entertainment. What’s more, Brainjuicer showed that brands driving happiness and fun have the highest levels of in market success.
However, we needed to find a relevant way into joy. Daily life can be a bit suppressing. When people feel joy, they often hold back from displaying it all the way in public out of fear from embarrassment. “Dancing like no one is watching” is a fantasy. But we wanted to change that a little bit and honey up every day life – the news, commute, kitchen, workplace, the contrived office dance party…
Hence our brand purpose: Release Unreserved Joy.
Tactically, we developed an idea narrative called “spark/join/shine”.
Under “spark”, we set out to make the world aware of what we stood for and inserted HNC in pop-culture. We honeyed-up everything that needed a severe dose of unreserved joy. This would include TV, and branded content and curating ‘Must Be the Honey’ moments. As for “join”, we provided tools and actions for user-generated content and community. In terms of “shine”, we ensured to give people the means to have their 30 seconds of fame.
We teased the “Must-Be-The-Honey” campaign through an online video starring Nelly and Buzz, the mascot bee. We followed up with more TV commercials. In social, we taught people the honey-shaker dance, gave them a chance to upload their own dance video and win bling swag, including a special edition of Honey Nut Sneakers that were made in collaboration with Nike Air Jordan. The kicks were spotted on LeBron James, Nick Cannon, Bow Wow and of course Nelly. Actions like these ensured that the brand was talked about. We honeyed up everything that needed a healthy dose of unreserved joy through videos and social commentary on Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook and YouTube.
We entertained the hell out of this cereal and even created a bling Honey Nut Cheerios box.
Today the brand is clearly differentiated in the category and overall. Our first video got 5.7 million YouTube views alone. The Must-Be-The-Honey campaign saw the largest sales jump in the brand’s history (+4%). This is 2 percent more than we hoped for.