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Multi-Grain Cheerios tackles diet culture

General Mills highlights impact of diet obsession on young girls

Multi-Grain Cheerios is calling out the media for its obsession with dieting.

The brand’s new campaign, launched Monday, skewers magazines and websites for their incessant coverage of the latest fads in dieting, coining the word “Dietainment” to describe articles the company believes contain “unhealthy dieting messages disguised as harmless entertainment.”

A few examples Multi-Grain Cheerios included in campaign videos: 14 ways to get bikini-ready in 24 hours, Drop 10 pounds fast, and The best and worst celebrity diets.

A 30-second spot created focuses on the impact these stories can have on young girls by showing them reading tabloids, websites and transit ads that offer quick-fix diets for “hot bods.”

The company has also launched a petition against “dietainment” it is hosting on its campaign hub,

According to Jason Doolan, director of marketing for the cereal category at General Mills, the site and campaign were both inspired by market research about dieting in Canada, including the fact that 30% of tween girls have tried a diet. Of that 30%, the majority were already at a healthy weight when they decided to diet, a fact Doolan said General Mills found illuminating and helped solidify its choice to focus on tween girls.

In addition to the TV spot, Multi-Grain Cheerios also filmed a roundtable with young girls discussing body image and dieting and edited them down into a series of online videos. Doolan explained the company cast the video using a research house, as it would an ordinary focus group. The ask: for families with confident, healthy daughters nine to 12 who would be comfortable talking on camera.

“We really saw it come to life when we interviewed these young girls. It was shocking, not only to us, but to their parents, how much these girls are aware of , how much they see it and how hard they are working to stay the course and not get sucked into it,” Doolan said.

The campaign is a continuation of the diet-themed work General Mills and Multi-Grain Cheerios have been doing for the past two years. In 2013 the brand launched an online hub where it asked women to share stories about dieting and partnered with Big Brothers Big Sisters, backing its Go Girls! mentoring program, which educates young girls about health.

Last year the brand partnered with Olympian Silken Laumann on its “campaign to end dieting,” asking mothers and daughters to join the champion rower in their pledge to stop using the word “diet.”

Cossette also handled the media buy for the campaign, which aside from television in English and French Canada, includes online pre-roll, digital display and a paid influence campaign with Yummy Mummy Club that will see mom bloggers share the creative and offer their own take on dieting.

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