Cheerios ‘cheer wall’ keeps growing

The General Mills cereal wraps its Olympics 'Cheer' promotion in Vancouver, with a street-side activation inviting fans to keep sending well-wishes to athletes.


VANCOUVER — Cheerios and sports fans were cheering as two of the brand’s sponsored athletes nabbed the first two gold medals ever on Canadian soil. It’s the kind of thing the brand was hoping for when it invited Canadians to send athletes well-wishes for the Games with postcards cut out of Cheerios boxes.

Here in Vancouver, the brand’s two Olympic promotions have merged into one, its ‘Bring home the gold’ on-pack promotion and sponsorship of eight athletes. ‘Bring home the Gold’ has proven prophetic, as its first two athletes to compete – Alex Bilodeau in moguls, Maelle Ricker in snowboard cross – both topped the podium.

And the ‘Cheer’ campaign, which started last summer, wraps up with an on-street activation inviting passersby to keep writing ‘cheer’ cards and adding them to a ‘cheer wall.’ Located outside the Canada Post headquarters in downtown Vancouver – General Mills Canada and Canada Post are partners in the campaign – Cheerios staff roam around a gigantic Canada Post box, inviting people to write up cards and post them to the walls.

The promotion is well on its way to doubling the campaign’s pre-Games performance, says Dave Struthers, director, promotion marketing, General Mills Canada. It’s also one of the best activations he thinks they’ve ever done.

‘I’ve been involved in six Olympics and been to three, and as a core marketing idea, I think ['Cheer'] has one of the best connections to our brand. Cheerios is all about family, emotion, heritage, and healthy active living, all the things that the Olympics embodies. This campaign is a perfect connection to the brand from an emotional standpoint.’

Before the Games started, over 13,000 Cheer cards had been sent (postage care of Canada Post) by Cheerios fans across the country. Since the brand hit the ground in Vancouver last Friday – with a special on-street event featuring notable Canadian athletes such as figure skater Emmanuel Sandhu – between 6,000 and 7,000 more Cheer cards have been made. It’s feasible that the on-street Cheer cards could match the entirely of the fall campaign by Games end, Struthers says.

‘It’s a phenomenally successful event so far,’ he says of the activation. ‘There are so many people around, and so much energy and enthusiasm. This has been a really neat on-street way for consumers to interact with the brand and we look forward to continuing it.’

The official estimation from VANOC to sponsors such as General Mills with on-street activations was that they could expect approximately 250,000 to 275,000 passersby on foot throughout the Games. Cheerios staff has been giving out 2,000 to 3,000 t-shirts a day, and Struthers says he estimates that on-foot traffic could be as high as 40,000 to 50,000 a day.

Creative and digital media buying for the ‘Cheer’ campaign was handled by Cossette. Traditional media was handled by ZenithOptimedia.