Deep Dive: Honey Bunches of Oats


Wellness Begins in The Morning

Honey Bunches of Oats has always been a favorite within my family. Its nutritious value and reputation for being a more health-conscious alternative to more sugary cereal competitors cemented its permanent residency within my family’s pantry. Therefore, I was super excited to learn of the Post’s first national marketing effort in three years. The campaign is titled Make a Bunch Happen that includes happiness hacks on social media and tie-ups with radio show hosts. The 30-second advertisement follows a woman that starts her day off with a bowl of breakfast cereal which gives her the energy and spark to make everything around her a tiny bit better. The company is purposefully trying to convey to consumers that much like the components of its cereal blend, each person adds a unique ingredient to the world. The brand is demonstrating how Honey Bunches of Oats can help combat feelings of emptiness or lethargy by encouraging people to properly nurture themselves in the morning in order to tackle the day and positively impact others. More broadly, the campaign is aiming to help others develop healthy habits to kick start their day such as fueling up at breakfast, reciting morning affirmations, or carving out a few quiet moments for yourself that will help you embrace mornings.

The timing for this campaign could not be better for the message it is trying to convey and emphasize. Troy Burrows, executive president of creative at agency Barkley indicates the idea of doing something that puts you in the right headspace to tackle the world outside your home and try new things is what the company wants to lean into. I couldn’t agree more with him! Many of us have been struggling with pandemic fatigue, having had our lives completely uprooted by the coronavirus back in 2020. It’s been nearly 2 years of remote work or school from home where many struggle with being pent up at home. I personally have found it hard to find motivation in the mornings due to the same old mundane routine I face each day and I think these feelings and struggles are rather universal. Therefore, Post’s campaign really hits the mark in aiding people to really focus on the little things that promote self-care and happiness during a time that might be hard to find some. The brand plans to spread the campaign across multiple platforms including TV networks and social media such as Facebook, Instagram & Tiktok where they will place encouraging messages to inspire people and hopefully counter doom scrolling. I think this is a very clever marketing tactic as Troy Burrows mentions, that this will get people to begin their day thinking about the Post brand and how its cereal is their “me time” moment that helps them go out, seize the day, and make a bunch happen.

Make a Bunch Happen is Honey Bunches of Oat’s push to evolve past traditional product pushing campaigns. This time around, they are touching a little on what’s in the bowl and how that impacts customers but more so on what’s beyond the bowl and encouraging customers to make an impact on the world. I think this is a very smart move on their part to transition away from the self absorbed style of marketing where advertisements only tooted the company’s horn rather than the customers. Companies are having to adapt their approaches and messages to consumers as not only conscious consumerism increases but as consumer’s perception of value in brands change as well. The pandemic has changed how many consumers interpret brands and derive value out of their services or products and it will be crucial for companies to recognize these changes and implement strategies to address them. Honey Bunches of Oats has done this wonderfully, taking note of consumers’ increased awareness of mental health and wellbeing and implementing this theme into their campaign. However, I am still curious as to why it took the brand 3 years to make another national marketing effort and what could have spurred the action. I also would like to know how the brand plans to differentiate their campaign from other health conscious cereal choices should competitors suddenly chose to take the same route and implement a wellness promoting campaign strategy.