General Mills Gives Spoonfuls to Cancer Fight

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The American Cancer Society, Atlanta, will conduct one of its largest outreach campaigns this month with the help of General Mills, Minneapolis.

Consumers will find a "Spoonfuls of Hope" cutout on General Mills' brand cereals, that when mailed in by Oct. 1, automatically donates 50 cents to the ACS from General Mills.

More than 22 million boxes of Wheaties, Cheerios, Total and Wheat Chex will appear in stores nationwide starting this month and lasting through the end of February. Lance Armstrong, winner of the 1999 Tour de France, and golf legend Arnold Palmer, both cancer survivors, will be on boxes of Wheaties.

Consumers will not receive any gifts or rebate offers for participating. The ACS hopes that the chance to take part in raising $1 million for cancer research will be more than enough to get people to participate.

"We have found out that there are a tremendous number of people who are interested in making a difference," said Cynthia Currence, national vice president for strategic marketing and branding at ACS. "It is a self-satisfying gesture that people will hopefully want to make."

Those who send in the cutouts, which will be mailed directly to General Mills, will be asked to provide their name and address. Currence said ACS has yet to work out a deal with General Mills that will allow it to have access to the respondents' names.

"I would like to follow up with all of those people who respond by sending them a thank-you letter," Currence said. "We would also look to find out if they wanted to receive more information about us, and if they would like to make their own donation and, eventually, add them to our database."

The ACS has a donor base of 20 million.

The cereal boxes will include ACS' address, Web site and phone number as well as health information and nutritional tips. The effort marks the first time ACS is conducting a national campaign tied in with products.

"This helps to put legs on a message that we necessarily don't have the funds to get out," Currence said.

And even though the campaign may seem random and not highly targeted, Currence said it's actually targeted at the exact audience it wants to convey this particular message to.

"General Mills does great work at figuring out who is purchasing their products," she said. "The key audience we want to reach with this message are the people who buy these products."

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