Last year, General Mills spent over a million dollars to help defeat the clumsily named, California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act.
Not long after when one of its bigger brands, Cheerios, ran an online campaign that allowed its fans to create their own ads for the cereal, this was – oh so predictably – the result.
So what do you do when a vocal portion of your potential target audience protests and boycotts for one of your signature products?
Try to convince them that GMOs are good? Sell them on the economic benefits of innovation? Ignore them and hope they go away?
If you're General Mills, you change the subject.
In this case, General Mills produced a commercial for Cheerios that was – oh so predictably – sure to bring out the unenlightened trolls who spewed vile hatred of the spot in the comments section on YouTube forcing General Mills to disable them.
This – just as predictably – has created a lot of positive media attention about Cheerios and a strong community of support for the brand.
So now Cheerios isn't the cereal that supports Frankenfoods. It's the cereal that fights racism.
Well played, General Mills.