Cereal Killin’ It: How General Mills Used its Corporate Blog to Go for the Jugular against Cornell Research

Trix memeDid you know that cereal companies are trying to subliminally brainwash kids into becoming lifetime cereal loyalists? That’s what a recent study from Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab concluded based on findings that kids’ cereal characters tend to look downward toward children in an attempt to make eye contact.

The study unleashed a flurry of mainstream media and blogger attention. A quick Google search pulls up a bevy of scintillating headlines from the likes of Forbes, NBC, ABC, CBS, USA Today, Huffington Post and many others. While some will certainly find the study thought-provoking, the interesting story, in my opinion, is how one major food processor chose to respond.

Cornell released its study on April 2, and media coverage hit a fever pitch the next day. Less than 24 hours later, General Mills’ VP of Global Communications, Tom Forsythe, took to the company’s blog to defend Trix Rabbits’ honor, and to poke a few giant holes in Cornell’s approach. Whether you agree with Mr. Forsythe’s position or not, the way he responded is a great example of how brands should be using social channels to be more responsive, flexible and human.

In fact, the blog response illustrates a few reasons why every brand should at least consider having a corporate blog:

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