General Mills grows with its audiences

14 February 2014
NEW YORK: General Mills, the food group, has successfully adapted various marketing campaigns to reflect the changing nature of the American family.

Given it is a company which sells leading brands in categories ranging from breakfast cereal and soup to ice cream and flour, the organisation has an obvious interest in being family-friendly.

And the rapid evolution of American society means achieving this status now requires adopting a more nuanced view of domestic life than ever before.

"The make-up of the American family is changing," Douglas Moore, vp/advertising and branding at General Mills, told delegates at the ANA Multicultural and Diversity Conference, held in late 2013. (For more, including examples from Cheerios and Progresso, read Warc's exclusive report: General Mills seeks to engage the new American family.)

Just as multicultural marketing has moved towards inclusive notions of total-market communications, so General Mills has run campaigns recognising that traditional assumptions are no longer valid.

Moore said: "It was this deep understanding that we need to grow with audiences. We need to behave differently. We need to partner with people differently.

"It – again – goes back to this point: because the households today with kids are multicultural households, you can't separate the two."

Armed with this knowledge, the challenge then becomes identifying the correct balance between speaking to all shoppers and pushing out more targeted messages at multicultural buyers.

"More and more, they're really one and the same," said Moore. "But you can't just stop there. You have to then say, 'OK; they're one and the same. What's our unique way in?'"

Similarly, while the precise scale of the opportunity to reach Hispanic, African-American and Asian-American shoppers varies by location, the overall impetus is clear.

"Even though we're in Minnesota and we may not see it as much, it's very important for everybody at the company to understand at the basic level: if you want to grow in the United States, you need to find a way to connect with these audiences and to grow with them," Moore said.

Data sourced from Warc
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