Advertiser: General Mills
Brand: Honey Nut Cheerios
Agency: Cossette Inc.
Country: Canada


Honey Nut Cheerios (HNC) was introduced in 1979 by the General Mills cereal company, most notable for its sweet honey flavour and recognized by its mascot "Buzz", the anthropomorphic bee.

HNC is the largest single cereal brand with the largest household penetration in Canada at 29.3%. By comparison, the next biggest brands Kelloggs' are Mini-Wheats at 21.3% and Special K at 18.6%.1

But a brand leader can have challenges:

  1. People's attitudes toward breakfast have changed due to a number of factors. For one, more consumers are eating on-the-go rather than sitting down to a meal. A growing number are concerned about allergies like lactose intolerance and gluten. Others are embracing a trend towards higher, protein-rich breakfast alternatives. These shifts in consumer attitudes towards breakfast have resulted in a complete category decline. In comparing sales in F09 vs. F15, we've witnessed a category sales decline of -0.8%, and Cheerios was not unaffected, seeing two consecutive sales declines in F14 and F15.2
  2. The brands' core consumer was aging and we needed a strategy to re-engage them.