CAMP Awards 2016 Corporate FINALIST: General Mills

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“You’re Never Too Young to Make a Difference” – Advice from General Mills, CAMP Awards Finalist

The Yop Fuels campaign, created in partnership with Cossette, marked an important shift in the way Yop was marketing to its desired market: teenagers. Instead of playing into the old stereotypes of rolling eyes, sighs and sleeping-in, Yop has begun to recognize that those old ways of relating, were not connecting with their demographic anymore. They had to start by re-examining who teenagers of this generation really are. And that starts by defining them. Millenials, those born roughly between 1980-1995 are not teenagers anymore, therefore marketing to them was not yielding successful results. And that’s where Generation Z (anyone born between 1993-2011) comes in. According to Ruth-Anne Culliton, Marketing Manager at General Mills, “…we wanted to modernize and bring more relevance to the brand for the people who have always loved it – teenagers. Through research we discovered how teenagers in Generation Z are different from Millennials. They’re globally connected, politically aware, digitally savvy, and they want to change the world. Our goal was for Yop to be a brand that celebrated and supported teens, fueling their bodies and their ambitions through our yogurt, and our Yop Fuels Campaign.” Really understanding your target market, understanding where they are coming from and what drives them, is so crucial, as Culliton points out, to a campaign’s success. Marketer of the Year Corporate Once understanding that ambition and a real desire to make a change in the world (coupled with the wherewithal to actually make that change) is what really matters to Generation Zers, Yop rebranded their packaging and image with the launch of the Yop Fuels campaign, which featured the youngest person to swim across Lake Ontario and a 14-year-old cyclist and philanthropist. The campaign included a larger budget for social media and online presence (from around 10-20 percent to 50 percent for web content), including TV, digital, mobile, social and a microsite. Teens were also invited to apply for a $2,500 grant to go toward funding their passion for change, while the brand also sponsored “We Day” events. This campaign, launched in September 2015, has already been a huge success as Yop saw its sales rise 19 per cent. General Mills markets in more than 100 countries on six continents. In fiscal 2014, their global net sales were $17.9 billion. To achieve that level of success, it is obvious that General Mills knows a thing or two about marketing strategy, specifically purpose-driven marketing. As Culliton notes, “At General Mills…our brands stand for something bigger, beyond the food we make that people love. Creativity is our strongest competitive advantage, and as we design and produce a significant portion of our marketing materials in Canada, we have full reign on the process. When we can connect with our consumer on a societal issue that matters to them, we become a force for a good, and a larger more relevant part of their lives.” And indeed, that strategy must be working as their brand portfolio includes more than 95 leading U.S. brands and numerous category leaders around the world. General Mills Corporate Finalist Yop, like all consumer packaged goods (CPGs), is a unique challenge for marketers compared to other industries. To stay current and competitive, Culliton notes that there are a few important things to keep in mind, namely, agility: “Given the slower growth rates of CPG companies in today’s marketplace, the agile ones are rewarded. A successful CPG now more than ever needs to embody the spirit of the entrepreneur. This, coupled with the power of an established company is a very powerful force.” By honing in on the keys to successful marketing campaign strategy, such as the importance of entrepreneurship, agility and having a deep understanding of your target market, General Mills has lead the charge on purpose-based marketing, taking home Marketing Magazine’s Marketer of the Year Award with the inception of many great campaigns. The Yop brand believes that teens have the power to change the world, and the Yop Fuels campaign aims to embody this message by celebrating and supporting teenagers across Canada. General Mills is a finalist in the Corporate category for our 2016 CAMP Marketing Awards. Winners will be announced at CAMP’s Awards Gala on November 2nd. To learn more about the event, please visit: About Author:

Lian Novak

Lian Novak is a Toronto-based marketing communications professional. She is passionate about brand management, writing and all things fashionable. Oh, and pie. Always pie. She can be reached directly at and you can follow her musings on Twitter @Lian_Novak.



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