The campaign also includes a $500,000 cash donation from Cheerios, as well as $600,000 worth of food products from General Mills.
According to Food Banks Canada, an estimated one in eight Canadians rely on food banks, but predicts there could be an increase of as much as 50% during the COVID-19 crisis.
General Mills is using the advertising space originally earmarked for Cheerios’ efforts around the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, which were postponed. Since the Vancouver games in 2010, the food manufacturing giant has run sponsorship activations to cheer on Canada’s Olympic heroes.
Now the company has new heroes to hail.
Murray the Brave
“We are pivoting our original plan from helping Canadians to cheer on our Olympic athletes, to those same Olympic athletes cheering on Canadians who are pushing themselves to help their communities in this time of tremendous need,” said Fawad Farrukh, business unit director of cereal, General Mills Canada.
The 30-second animated spot features 'Murray the Brave’ boxing food for those in need – including Cheerios – to ship out “cheer and hope.”
Told entirely in rhyme – “while the people sank safely into their couches/Murray sorted packages and pouches” – the spot was inspired by an actual food bank worker.
The bilingual (English and French) spot is being aired across TV, digital and social media channels, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.
Despite not competing this year, the company is still planning to feature Canadian Olympians Andre De Grasse (athletics), Penny Oleksiak (swimming), Rosie MacLennan (gymnastics), Matt Berger (skateboarding) and Jennifer Abel (diving) on limited edition Cheerios boxes.
The campaign also includes a series of videos featuring the Olympians, in which each reveals a Cheerios box with a photo of a real life food bank worker.