Dead Bees are the Worst, Amirite? General Mills Hearts Millennials

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Co-authored with Julie Kelly and originally posted on Huffington Post. We attempted to insult and stereotype all generations equally.

Big Giant Cereal Companies have it very hard these days. Sales are soggy. Processed food is so last century plus Millennials find it a nuisance to wash the bowl and the spoon. Oh, and the organic lobby has convinced consumers that the GMOs in cereal are responsible for every disease ever discovered for humans and bees. [For the record, they’re not.]

To look like they care about this, General Mills, bless its heart, is scrambling to figure out how to make cereal attractive again, especially to Millennials, the currently coveted demographic. [Note to Millennials: Enjoy it. Gen Z is breathing down your neck and you will soon be put out to marketing-target pasture.]

General Mills removed GMOs (along with a few nutrients) from Cheerios and went gluten-free. Then they bought up a bunch of organic brands, making them the 3rd largest organic company. And now, General Mills Canada may be attempting to tap into the Millennial reputation for liking brands that make them feel nice and “green” by taking the Buzz the Bee cartoon off the Honey Nut Cheerios box because Buzz is…sick? Drunk? Fender meat? It’s hard to tell by the schmaltz-fest video they put out.

Or maybe General Mills is just a consumer-centric company who genuinely cares about bees and celiac sufferers. Either way, it’s fun to imagine the desperate cereal executives trying to win the love of our precious Millennials, with their disdain for mundane tasks like washing dishes, and their love for all things that make them feel squeaky clean and green.

 

A Very Important General Mills Marketing Meeting

Boomer CEO: This is mission critical, folks, Project Catalyst says cereal sales are down because millennials don’t like to wash dishes. We must shift this paradigm

Gen X Middle Manager of Cereal: *raises hand* I’ve got an idea.

Entire Room: *ignores Gen Xer*

Millennial Intern: *looks up from Snapchat* I have, literally, the best idea ever.

Entire Room: *bows down*

Boomer CEO: *looks up from bended knee* I cannot wait to hear your idea but first please tell us why you reject our cereal. We must move this needle and leverage our synergies!

Millennial Intern: First of all, cereal is, like, processed which is so busted. Second of all, it has GMOs in it which, ew. Third of all, it takes like, literally, days to make. What am I? A chef?

Gen X Cereal Manager: *yawns* Do you even know what a GMO is?

Millennial Intern: *throws shade* Duh. It’s, like, an organism of DNA and pesticides that causes every disease and kills bees which literally makes me want to cry.

Gen X Cereal Manager: Actually, seeds bred with genetic engineering are…

Entire Room: *chats about football*

Boomer CEO: *ignores Gen Xer* Thank you for peeling back the onion and opening the kimono for us on our millennial problem, Intern. Please tell us your idea.

Entire Room: *holds breath*

Gen X Cereal Manager: *stops caring*

Millennial Intern: *takes selfie with cereal box* We have to get rid of gross GMOs. Obvs.

Boomer CEO: Obviously. That is low-hanging fruit. What else?

Millennial Intern: We should totes save the bees because dead bees are the worst, amirite?

 Entire Room: *nods gravely*

Millennial Intern: We can take the cartoon bee off this Honey Nut Cheerios box like he’s sick and missing or something.

Boomer CEO: Go on. I believe you are about to square this circle, Intern!

Gen X Cereal Manager: *slouches*

Millennial Intern: We’ll make super-sad Vines and You Tube videos that will make everyone cry about cute, dead bees. And we need a hashtag. #BringBacktheBees would be adorbs!

Entire Room: Intern! YOU are a marketing genius!

Millennial Intern: I know, right? *looks for trophy*

Boomer CEO: Kudos, Intern! Way to give 110% and think outside the box!

Gen X Cereal Manager: *eats Zoloft*

Boomer CEO: Cereal Manager? This is your baby. Lots of moving parts here so we need you to take it to the next level and make Project Millennial a win-win. Really push the envelope here.

Gen X Cereal Manager: *shuffles back to cubicle* Tell me, Intern, will removing GMOs and watching sad bee videos really make you eat cereal again?

Millennial Intern: *Instagrams new corner office #blessed* Totes. If my mom makes it for me. *leaves for Starbucks*

Boomer CEO: Let’s go make hay people! *buys boat with 401K*

The End

So this is the theater of the absurd with food marketing today. Corporations feign concern about the health of their customers and the planet by stripping perfectly safe GMO vitamins from cereal. Or, they use (and trivialize) a serious environmental issue, the collapse of honeybee colonies, to sell cereal. And the well-fed, persnickety consumers continue to whine and pretend to care about bees and seed breeding methods as millions of people around the world suffer nutritional deficiencies and food-insecurity.

Good luck finding Buzz though!

A One Act Play About Sugar: Mr. Goodbar Will Still Make You Fat

Originally Published on Huffington Post. Co-authored with Julie Kelly who really did all the hard work and research. I just added the dumb jokes. Also, we think Hershey’s is a great company and we feel a little bad about making fun of them, especially since some activists are still calling for a boycott even after the announced change.

Edited to add: Mexico Ready to Ship More Sugar to U.S. as Buyers Snub Beets  and Another Not So Sweet Victory for the Anti-GMO Movement

Original Post:

Exciting news, candy lover! Your Hershey Kiss will now contain sucrose molecules from Latin America instead of Minnesota.

That’s right, an anti-GMO group has been hard at work, fighting for your right to eat a new peanut butter cup that is exactly like the old peanut butter cup. For two years, they unleashed a cabal of angry Facebookers and Tweeters to tell Hershey’s that they better “Break up with GMOs” or else! And break up Hershey’s did, meaning they’re dumping American sugar in favor of imported sugar.

For decades, some Hershey’s candy has been made with sugar derived from a sugar beet. The sugar is the same as cane sugar, meaning it’s just sucrose, however the beet itself is grown from a seed that is considered a “GMO” so people who are scared of GMOs/sell organic stuff had to go on the attack and bully companies like Hershey’s to stop using it.

Hershey’s decided to cave to their demands even though it’s doubtful that the people blowing up the Hershey Twitter account would ever actually eat their candy since Trader Joe’s probably doesn’t carry it. It’s also doubtful that a bunch of moms were all that fired up about what sweetens an Almond Joy. Moms aren’t exactly looking to candy bars for nutrition.

It’s fun to imagine the meeting where the candy executives try to figure out how to handle the pressure. After all, they acknowledge that GMOs are perfectly safe so it must have been a tough decision to jilt American farmers.

According to Hershey’s spokesman, Jeff Beckman:

“As a consumer-centric company, we listen to our consumers and work to respond to their interests and expectations.” And even though he acknowledges genetically modified ingredients are safe, Beckman says that “non-GM ingredients is[sic] something our consumers are telling us is important to them.”

Hershey’s Very Important Meeting

Social Media Guy: Y’all, I’m getting a bunch of all-caps tweets telling me we have to break up with our sugar.

*laughter and dirty jokes*

Social Media Guy: No, really. My push notifications are stressing me out.

Marketing Guy: *Googles GMOs* Someone named Food Babe says GMOs are poisoning our kids. Also, I am out of marketing ideas.

Science Lady: You are a dumbass.

21-year-old Intern with Man Bun: *stops pouring coffee and lectures room about Monsanto’s evil overlords*

Entire Room: Beat it, Man Bun. We are the evil Candy Overlords.

Social Media Guy: *whines* The GMO Inside Army is really scary, you guys. They use a lot of exclamation points.

Marketing Guy: I am too bored to come up with new marketing ideas plus my Google research says that consumers have a right to know what’s in their food.

Science Lady: Sucrose.

Marketing Guy: But…cane sugar…

Science Lady: Still sucrose.

Marketing Guy: But…poison…

Science Lady: *rolls eyes*

Marketing Guy: But it’s better for you?

Science Lady: *speaks slowly* Mr. Goodbar does not care where its sucrose is from. Mr. Goodbar will still make you fat.

Marketing Guy: But…I need a new marketing idea. Also, sugarcane isn’t GMO so it’s better for the planet! Pesticides!

Science Lady: Yes, pests on sugarcane are sprayed with unicorn tears and it will be shipped here from Central America on flying carpets. *walks out and updates resume*

Secretary/Voice of Reason: *whispers* The anti-GMO people still won’t buy our candy.

Boss: *ignores secretary* Fine. Make the announcement. Tell everyone how much we care or something.

Man Bun: *pretends to smoke a Twizzler* Are we going to use, like, Fair Trade sugar or anything?

Entire Room: GET. OUT.

Man Bun: *rides 10-speed to pot dealer’s house*

Social Media Guy: *tweets* Have a Sweet Day!

Marketing Guy: *finally has a new marketing idea* We Are a Consumer-centric Company!

American Farmers: What the hell just happened?

GMO Inside: Hooray! *Continues to never buy Hershey products*

End Scene

Well done, GMO Inside! You and your minions have successfully risked the financial future of 10,000 sugar beet farmers so that a Hershey Bar will still be a Hershey Bar. You’ve done nothing to change the candy, it is and always will be delicious junk food but now Hershey’s can market it as “gmo-free” and give it a little health halo. Excellent work. Perhaps this will help them sell more Kisses!

GMO Inside: But…the environment!

Can you really make the case that importing sugar from Latin America is somehow more environmentally sound than sugar from Minnesota? GMO Inside certainly isn’t delusional enough to think that all sugarcane plantations are run by benevolent leprechauns who use fairy dust to kill weeds. No, even GMO Inside supporters are right to be concerned about pesticides and labor practices on these plantations.

Go ahead and take a bow though. You deserve it. But let’s not pretend that the campaign against Hershey’s was anything but what it was – a clever business maneuver to further the bottom line and the ideologies of the organic corporations who benefit from the demonization of biotech. And we should also acknowledge that you gave Hershey’s a nice little gift – a new marketing approach that lets them put a cute GMO-free label on the candy wrappers and allows them to say:

“We listen to our consumer. We are a consumer-centric company!”

And in the end, no matter what country the sugar is from, too many Mr. Goodbars will still make you fat.sugarpile

Refined sugar = Refined Sugar