Jun 17, 2015 • By

Multi-Grain Cheerios aims to end Dietainment

Young girls are constantly exposed to unhealthy diet messages disguised as harmless entertainment. So it’s not surprising that nearly one in three tween girls have dieted.

Multi-Grain Cheerios Canada is working to prevent messages about fad diets and unhealthy weight loss tricks – a term they’ve coined “Dietainment” – from reaching impressionable young girls.

The campaign to end Dietainment is an extension of the brand’s “World Without Dieting” movement. It shines light on the media industry’s obsession with dieting and its inadvertent influence on young girls.

When the movement launched in 2013, the focus was about sharing Multi-Grain Cheerios’ purpose with consumers. Shortly after, people were invited to take an oath to never use the word dieting again, and instead use words like healthy, strong, nourished and amazing.

“The response from consumers was unbelievably positive and gave us confidence that we were headed in the right direction,” says Amanda Hsueh, associate marketing director of Cereal, General Mills Canada. “Our latest initiative was driven by a realization – as much as people can try to lead a healthy, balanced lifestyle and set a good example for their children, there’s a relentless external force that threatens all of those efforts.”

Amanda says Dietainment is a serious threat to young girls, and it needs to stop.

The brand team worked with Cossette on creative and media for the campaign. A television spot that debuted  this week shows young girls reading Dietainment messaging on websites, advertisements and tabloid covers, featuring common headlines like “Celebrity secrets to a hot body” and “Get skinny in just one week.”

In addition to the TV spots, longer videos posted on feature young girls sharing their perspective on today’s diet culture, as well as their personal messages to publishers of Dietainment content.

The messaging in the new commercial resonates with consumers – especially women and girls – because it’s relatable and shocking.

“Everyone sees these Dietainment messages on a daily basis and we usually just dismiss them as harmless distractions.  But when you actually stop and think about the young girls who are seeing these same messages and the impact it has on them, it jolts you into the realization that Dietainment isn’t harmless at all, and that we need to do something about it,” explains Amanda.

She says hearing about the current diet culture from the perspectives of young girls brought about a mixture of emotions within her and others on the Multi-Grain Cheerios team, comprised of mostly women.


“You can’t help but think about yourself at that young age, and be horrified by how the pressure to diet feels even more incessantly pervasive for girls now,” says Amanda. “On the positive side, the young girls we spoke to were wonderfully aware, strong, and articulate. We felt incredibly proud of them and it further spurred our motivation to do whatever we can to help.”

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