General Mills Canada is spreading some Olympic “Cheer” in a new TV commercial for its Cheerios cereal brand.
The 30-second spot from Cossette starts with a little boy sitting at the kitchen table, cutting a postcard-sized piece from his box of Cheerios, while “This Little Light of Mine” plays in the background. He writes something on the card, puts an Olympic stamp on it, and runs it to the mailbox.
The commercial cuts to figure skater Patrick Chan who pulls the yellow post card with the words “Cheer” on the front, from his mailbox. He turns the card over to read: “Dear. Mr. Chan. I’m cheering for you. Jason.”
The commercial ends with a shot of the cut up cereal box back at the boy’s home with the tag line: “It starts with a little cheer.”
The Cheerios marketing team was working on a project for its original brand when they received a visit from VANOC CEO John Furlong, said Jason Doolan, marketing director, cereals, General Mills Canada.
“He explained that these are really the games for all Canadians and that the athletes really need the support and encouragement of Canadians if they’re going to be successful,” said Doolan. “We realized that Cheerios can be the perfect voice to help support our Olympic athletes.”
General Mills Canada has the exclusive rights in the cereal and unprepared grocery products category for the Vancouver Games and sponsorship rights for the Canadian Olympic Team for Vancouver 2010 and London 2012 Summer Games.
The commercial launched July 1, and will run until the end of the Olympic Games. ZenithOptimedia handled the media buy.
A similar French-language spot, starring freestyle skier Alexandre Bilodeau, is set to launch in Quebec this September. However, because the word “Cheer” doesn’t translate into French, the little boy will instead cut out the heart that appears on the front of the box.
“He basically sends his love, sends his support, using that [the heart] as a postcard,” said Doolan.
Starting in September, a dotted line will appear around the word “Cheer” on boxes of Cheerios. The postcard will be addressed to the Olympic Village, with postage covered by Canada Post, another official VANOC sponsor. At that time, SendYourCheer.ca will go live to provide consumers more information about the postcard program, with a throw to the site added to the TV spot.
“It’s an opportunity for Canadians to send their best wishes to the Canadian athletes,” said Doolan.
The cards will be collected for a “Cheer” wall within the Olympic Village.
Earlier this year, General Mills launched its “Aspiring Olympians” program designed to provide funding to young athletes to help them reach their goal of standing on the podium in Vancouver.
Unique PIN codes for the program have been printed inside medium boxes of Cheerios. From now until September, Canadians can submit those codes for their athlete of choice at EverydayCelebrations.ca/AspiringOlympians. General Mills will donate one dollar for every code submitted. The program currently sponsors 32 athletes.