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'Fearless' marketing works for Honey Maid

News, 02 December 2014

MIAMI, FL: Honey Maid, the brand of graham crackers made by Mondelez International, has engaged with a new generation of consumers by adopting – and staying committed to – a "fearless" approach to marketing.

Gary Osifchin, senior marketing director in the US for Mondelez International, discussed this topic while speaking at the Association of National Advertisers' (ANA) 2014 Multicultural and Diversity Conference.

And he argued that repositioning Honey Maid as a brand recognising and representing modern America – from same-sex couples to multiracial families and parents passionate about body art – required a "fearless letting go".

More specifically, he revealed the product's core values – being "wholesome" and "better for you" – were refreshed to move away from conventional depictions of families, which had never been entirely realistic.

"It was very much the lily-white world of kids – blonde kids, always – running home from school to have their tasty Honey Maid graham-cracker treat," he said. (For more, including in-depth analysis of Honey Maid's campaign, read Warc's exclusive report: How Mondelez fearlessly redefined "wholesome" for Honey Maid.)

"Or they were going to grow up and they were going to be a fireman – a blonde fireman. Or an engineer – a blonde engineer."

Pushing back against this notion meant moving beyond the kind of communications that had defined many product categories for decades.

"In fact, the reality of America – even back then – was not that at all … Brands, back then, weren't brave enough to actually show America what America looked like," Osifchin said.

When Honey Maid's all-embracing campaign went live, it caused a significant stir, with a small but vocal group raising objections to the lifestyles it reflected, right down to a father having tattoos.

Not only did the brand decide to stay the course, but it replied to these negative responses through a viral video which championed the value of love – a move that encapsulated the "fearless" coda.

"Being brave ... meant having to continue being brave. That meant we had to engage even more in this conversation," said Osifchin.

"The opportunity was ours to lose in terms of actually celebrating the responses that consumers were putting out into the world."

Data sourced from Warc