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Cheerios encourages cross-channel engagement with environmentally conscious campaign

Cheerios is temporarily removing its iconic mascot from the box to draw customers? attention to a mobile-optimized Web site with information about environmental action.

BuzzBee will be missing from the Cheerios box to raise awareness of the mass disappearance of vital pollinating insects such as bees. Customers will be directed to find him at a mobile-optimized site that will give customers more information about the environmental risk of losing bees and other species.

"As a General Mills cereal built around nutrition, helping pollinators get the key nutrition they need through fun, family-friendly activities like planting wildflowers is a natural fit," said Susanne Prucha, director of marketing for Cheerios. 

Bring back bees
Cheerios latest campaign eschews traditional campaigns where brands add something to their product design.

Instead, the notable aspect of this new campaign is what is removed from the packaging. In this case, it is Honey Nut Cheerios? iconic mascot BuzzBee, a lovable bee character who has been with the brand for decades.

In his usual place on the box is a cutout in his silhouette. 

This change is meant to draw users? attention to an important problem ? the mass disappearance of pollinating insects such as bees.

These insects help propagate 90 percent of the crops that humans eat, meaning they are monumentally important to the environment, the global ecosystem and the survival of humanity.

But in recent decades, for a variety of reasons, bees and other pollinating insects have been dying off in large numbers. This presents a massive environmental crisis in the future if it is not curbed.

That is why Cheerios has removed BuzzBee from the box, to make customers more aware of the disappearing bees.

Instead, customers will be directed to a mobile-optimized Web site that will offer more facts about pollinating insects and what regular people can do to help combat their slow disappearance.

In addition to the Web site, Cheerios is also encouraging consumers to share the information they find on social media along with the sponsored hashtag #BringBackOurBees.

Cross-channel engagement
This campaign is a great example of how brands can remove something from a product instead of adding something but still cause a reaction.

In this case, Cheerios has built up a certain expectation for the brand over the years with BuzzBee being a significant part of that.

By removing him, Cheerios is causing customers to pay more attention to the reason why as well as visiting a mobile site to learn more.

Cheerios has done similar campaigns in the past, using mobile marketing techniques on its cereal boxes to drive installations of mobile games (see story) and apps (see story).

Cheerios is marrying the unique strategy of removing an iconic element with the attention required to raise awareness for an important issue.

"Our commitment to increasing the habitat for pollinators is one way we are continuously striving to be a company that not only makes products people love, but a company that pursues creative solutions to make our world a better place for all families," Ms. Prucha said.