Canada Sponsor
Jan 24, 2014 • By

Canada pursues gold

Canada has a huge passion for the Winter Olympics. And for years, General Mills Canada has sponsored Canadian athletes and teams.

For the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Russia next month, it hopes to do more than ever.

“We’ve developed a three-phase program that takes our Olympic sponsorship to a new level,” says Dave Struthers, promotions director for General Mills Canada.


Toque hats

It began in September when General Mills Canada offered a free toque – a small, close-fitting cap often worn during winters – to consumers, via specially marked boxes of cereal. To obtain one, consumers purchased the cereal, went online to enter a PIN code from inside the box, and selected the design they wanted.

The toques were available in four unique designs:

-The Pillsbury Doughboy snowboarding.

-BuzzBee skiing.

-The Cinnamon Toast Crunch Crazy Squares figure skating.

-Lucky playing hockey (the most popular item in this hockey-loving country).


CHEER for the athletes

In October, General Mills Canada’s CHEER campaign came to life for the third time on boxes of family-size Cheerios. Consumers simply cut out the “CHEER” postcard and write an inspirational message to encourage Canadian athletes.

Send Cheer

Consumers were also encouraged to send Canadian athletes digital “CHEER” messages through the Life Made Delicious Facebook page.

Athletes & augmented reality

In November, General Mills Canada sponsored eight Canadian athletes and showcased them on a variety of cereal, snack and Yoplait products.

Sponsored athletes include women’s hockey player Hayley Wickenheiser (who will be Canada’s flag bearer in the Opening Ceremonies), figure skater Patrick Chan and Paralympic alpine skier Josh Dueck.

Hayley Wickenheiser

“General Mills Canada has a long history of supporting amateur athletes in Canada, and we ultimately feel that the individual athlete stories are what the Olympics are all about,” Dave says. “This formula for success has worked for us since 1998 in Nagano, Japan, and our retailers jump at the opportunity to bring these stories to life in their stores.”

And to make our packaging even more engaging, General Mills Canada teamed up with Blippar, a UK-based augmented-reality company to bring some of its cereal and snacks packaging to life. The technology allows consumers to interact with General Mills Canada packages and brands by playing mini-games, taking photos with the athletes, and watching athlete videos.

Blippar Canada

“Blippar enabled us to deliver not just additional athlete information, but a truly interactive experience with the athletes through games and photo-sharing opportunities,” says Dave. (Blippar also has worked with Wheaties, as we wrote about here).

In addition, Canada’s 230-member Olympic team will get a taste of General Mills products during the games.

Varieties of Cheerios cereal and Nature Valley granola bars will be available at the Olympic Village and Canadian Olympic House in Sochi.