Cheerios-Effect
Sep 30, 2014 • By

Have you experienced the Cheerios Effect?

You’ve probably noticed it after pouring Cheerios into a bowl of milk.

They start floating toward each other, right?

Scientists have noticed that too. In fact, they’ve named the phenomenon the “Cheerios Effect.”

The term, used by scientists in fluid mechanics, refers to how floating objects, like cereal, clump together due to surface tension and buoyancy. General Mills Canada just launched a new Cheerios campaign based on the tendency.

“We saw the Cheerios Effect as a perfect metaphor for human connections,” says Amanda Hsueh, marketing manager in the cereals division. “Just as the Cheerios are naturally drawn together in the bowl, we believe that the need to connect is one of the most natural parts of the human condition.”

Cheerios-Effect

The idea for the Cheerios Effect campaign just sort of floated into place.

At a brainstorming session, Amanda and her team found that the theme of connection was at the heart of the Cheerios brand heritage. Someone mentioned that even the Cheerios themselves seem to connect.

“We thought no more of it until our creative team burst into the office the next day and told us that this phenomenon was actually a real scientific effect that was named after Cheerios! It was a true Eureka moment for us, and the idea for the campaign was born.”

The first commercial for the campaign shows bowls of milk with little Os floating toward each other. It ends with the simple message: “We all love to connect. That’s the Cheerios Effect.”

Soon to air are a series of advertisements featuring regular people, not actors, sharing how they came together.

“We found real people with amazing stories of connection and created our TV and digital campaign around sharing those stories,” Amanda says. “We are hosting longer documentary-style videos on YouTube that tell more of the background and details about each of our individual stories.”

Once you’ve seen and been inspired by these stories, you’re asked to go to CheeriosEffect.ca to share your own story of connection.

At the website, you can type in your story and create a personalized video with customized images of Cheerios connecting. The page picks up on keywords you enter.

Cheerios-Effect

“We will have over 500 potential icons and keywords, so we anticipate that people will have a lot of fun discovering how they can create and share their story.” Amanda adds, “We hope that by sharing these user-customized stories, we’ll be inspiring other people to look for more connections in their life and strengthen their existing connections.”

Some scientists are studying the Cheerios Effect to see if it can possibly induce the self-assembly of small-scale structures.

Cool, right? (You can get check out their work here.)

In the meantime, the new Cheerios campaign will celebrate and share real stories of connection, in order to inspire a more connected world.

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