Nature Valley touts trail restoration with remake of classic song

Dive Brief:

  • General Mills’ granola snack brand Nature Valley and the National Park Foundation completed a three-year project to restore 10,000 miles of national park trails, celebrating the occasion with a music video posted online. Nature Valley also pledged $3 million to provide access to another 10,000 miles of trails and for grants to support outdoor exploration, per an announcement.
  • Nature Valley enlisted Daveed Diggs, an original cast member of Broadway musical “Hamilton,” to remake the song “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” by The Proclaimers for the music video. People can see the video on Nature Valley’s account on photo-sharing app Instagram, or on a microsite that also has a list of restored trails in national parks.
  • Nature Valley’s campaign comes as the pandemic has led to a record number of visitors to national parks, with many people seeking a relatively safer way to escape the confines of isolation. The cause-driven effort also is likely to resonate with younger consumers who tend to favor brands that give back to their communities.

Dive Insight:

Nature Valley and the National Park Foundation aim to highlight their ongoing work to restore nature trails as national parks see more visitors. The effort includes supporting work crews that remove invasive species, clear corridors, repair structures, build boardwalks and manage other repair projects. Trails in 19 parks across 16 states have been restored in the past three years as a result of the project, according to the announcement.

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The centerpiece of the campaign is the music video starring Daveed Diggs, who has 965,000 followers on Instagram. The video has been edited for different lengths ranging from six seconds to more than two minutes, depending on the platform. By collaborating with the star, Nature Valley can reach a younger audience of consumers who use social media to follow celebrities, consume content and to stay connected with each other during the pandemic. Instagram has 140 million users in the U.S., according to data compiled by HootSuite, and those users check in with the platform 30 minutes a day on average, researcher eMarketer estimated.

Nature Valley’s campaign to support national parks is consistent with efforts by brands to show how they give back to society, a theme that’s become more pronounced during the pandemic and widespread protests against racism. Among the recent campaigns, Ben & Jerry’s last month honored Colin Kaepernick, the activist and former NFL quarterback, with a new ice cream flavor to celebrate his work to confront police violence. Campbell’s Chunky, the official soup brand of the NFL, partnered with Target to sponsor a virtual esports tournament aimed at alleviating food insecurity among children. These campaigns can help to inspire good will toward brands, especially among younger consumers.

General Mills has overseen a variety of campaigns to promote its brands as homebound people increase their consumption of snacks and comfort foods. The packaged foods company this month partnered with the dairy processors behind the “Got Milk?” campaign to release special boxes of cereal featuring mascots with a signature milk mustache. The effort followed the release of former recipes for classic cereals, which the company promoted with a live event that targeted consumers’ memories of Saturday morning cartoons. It also worked with Champion Athleticwear on a capsule collection of cereal-inspired clothing.

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