In the Doghouse

Doghouse: General Mills pairs kid cereals with beer

September 4, 2015

general mills
General Mills (GM) has branched out from products such as granola bars, salsa, and cake mix to partner some of its beloved children's cereals with the alcohol industry.

GM recently shipped boxes of its Count Chocula cereal directly to the Black Rock Brewery in Fort Collins, Colorado, to produce the brewer's Halloween-edition Cerealiously Count Chocula beer.

This summer GM also announced a partnership with Minneapolis’ Fulton Beer to create yet another cereal-inspired brew. HefeWheaties is not made with the actual Wheaties cereal, but is available in 16-ounce cans that mimic a Wheaties box.

According to the Beer Institute and its industry self-regulatory code, beer advertising and marketing materials are supposed to avoid elements that appeal to youth. The code lists elements that primarily appeal to children, including but not limited to cartoon characters (Count Chocula) and symbols (Wheaties brand mark), for example.

Perhaps GM is used to advertising cereals like Cheerios, Lucky Charms, and Trix (are for kids!) to children that it hasn't occurred to GM execs or its marketing staff that alcohol is a different kind of product.

Adding cereal as ingredient to beer and using it to promote is a recipe for attracting more kids to alcohol - and as a result, increasing harm.