NEW YORK: Mondelez International, the snacks group, is using pop star Miley Cyrus as a source of inspiration as digital and societal change take a wrecking ball to traditional marketing models.
Dana Anderson, SVP/CMO at Mondelez International – the owner of Oreo cookies, Cadbury chocolate and Trident gum – discussed this subject at VentureBeat's Marketing.FWD Summit 2016.
"We call this the 'Miley Cyrus Rule'," she said. (For more, including further details of the firm's approach, read Warc's exclusive report: Mondelez International follows the "Miley Cyrus Rule".)
"This is how I want you to think about the 'Miley Cyrus Rule': When you think you know how it's going to be, think of Miley.
"Because big packaged-goods companies who have big relationships with big retailers think they know how life is going to be, and that is getting changed for them."
In discussing why the singer has become a talismanic figure for her company, Anderson cited Cyrus's rejection of established gender roles and definitions.
As the singer put it in a widely-reported interview with Paper magazine in June 2015: "I don't relate to being boy or girl, and I don't have to have my partner relate to boy or girl."
If this statement seemingly offers little guidance for snack-food manufacturers on first glance, Mondelez's marketing chief asserted that it is a philosophy that hints at a wider evolution in attitudes and habits.
"It's what we call the 'new fluidity', and how people are grasping problems and solutions," she said.
In the corporate world, this "fluidity" is embodied by user reviews on Yelp.com, purchasing groceries online via Instacart, and travelling in an Uber car.
Economic malaise, coupled with a mistrust of institutions, the "miniaturisation" of technology and – as epitomised by Miley Cyrus herself – the rise of Generation Z are all encouraging this shift.
"The fundamental roles of how we make decisions have changed. So the new fluidity for us is an abundance of choice. I have a lot of ways I can solve my problems. I have fundamental freedom to move between those choices with a lot of ease," Anderson said.
Data sourced from Warc