General Mills takes its Olympic packaging digital

From Shopper Marketing Report: Cheer Cards are back for Beijing, but Cheerios is swapping scissors for QR codes.


General Mills cereal brand Cheerios is bringing back its popular Cheer Cards for the Beijing Winter Olympics – and, in a first for the brand, is taking them digital, too.

The initiative has long been key to the company’s Olympic activation strategy. It was first introduced in 2009 and has run for every games since, including for the Tokyo games this past Summer (General Mills recently extended its partnership with the Canadian Olympic Committee through to the 2028 Olympic Games).

While in the past, Canadians were invited to cut a card from their cereal box, write a personalized message and send it to an athlete, this year they are instead encouraged to scan a QR code featured on the brand’s Honey Nut, Multi-Grain and original yellow boxes, alongside shots of some of the company’s sponsored Olympians: Sarah Nurse, Charles Hamelin, Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier, Jane Channell and Connor McDavid.

Cheer2Upon scanning the code, fans are taken to an “interactive experience” where they can play one of six games, learn more about the sponsored athletes, or submit a written or video cheer digitally. The company has also created a “Cheer Booth” in Team Canada’s athlete lounge at the Olympic Village in Beijing, where athletes can see and hear the messages and videos submitted by fans.

“For the past 12 years, we’ve fostered a connection between athletes and fans through our Cheer Card program,” says Jeevan Grewal, brand experience manager of cereal and snacks at General Mills Canada. “This year, we wanted to find a way to deepen that connection and enable fans to share their cheer in new ways.”

The campaign is being promoted across a number of mediums, including TV and social media, as well as on-pack. Beyond the actual packaging itself, there are no grocery activations planned.