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Hacking Prime Day

Hacking Prime Day | General Mills | MindShare
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Industry: Food
Style: Minimalism
Why is this work relevant for Media?

With no visual shelf for consumers to scan, 85% of people default to Alexa’s top recommended product. Through a creative strategy leveraging America’s biggest shopping day – Prime Day – we set Cheerio’s up for the future of e-commerce on a platform that screws towards habitual purchasing. By designing an offer, giving away a free box of cereal to everyone who spent over $40, we effectively hacked Amazon’s search results and recommendation algorithm. Every time someone said, “Hey Alexa, add cereal to my cart,” Alexa recommended Cheerios, turning the threat of being delisted on commerce platforms into a competitive advantage.


What if you could guarantee that your product would top the shopping lists for Amazon Prime members? By 2020, research shows voice shopping will grow from $2 billion to $40 billion USD. This is driven by Amazon’s Echo (aka Alexa), which leads its competitors in becoming Americans’ digital roommate, the one you turn to for great shopping advice. With no visual shelf for consumers to scan, people default to Alexa’s top recommended option. In fact, 85% of shoppers will choose whatever Alexa recommends. We call this ‘incidental loyalty’—when consumers remove themselves from the decision-making process and put digital assistants in charge. To ensure her recommendations are useful, Alexa tends to tell shoppers about products they’ve bought before.

With ecommerce poised to grow dramatically, we saw an opportunity for Honey Nut Cheerios to become the recommended choice for new and existing customers and to win the future of voice commerce.

Describe the creative idea/insights (30% of vote)

Our idea? Leverage America’s biggest retail event, Amazon’s Prime Day, in order to establish a Cheerios shopping history so that the next time someone says, “Hey Alexa, add cereal to my shopping cart,” Honey Nut Cheerios is the first recommendation.

It was simple—we designed a promotion, giving away a free family-size box of Honey Nut Cheerios to everyone who spent over $40 USD on Amazon. Millions of Amazon customers would take the offer, resulting in the search results for Honey Nut Cheerios peaking, effectively hacking Amazon’s recommendation algorithm.

Of course, as a brand committed to making “Good Go Round,” giving America a free box of Cheerios also seemed like a nice way to put a little joy out into the world on this major shopping day.

Describe the strategy (20% of vote)

Amazon is a leader in voice assistants and ecommerce. Prime Day 2018 (July 16th) was set to surpass Cyber Monday and Black Friday in online sales, exceeding an estimated $4 billion USD. With over 100 million Amazon Prime members in USA, we saw an opportunity to tap into this cultural moment, ensuring Honey Nut Cheerios was a category leader, and in turn, making it the number-one brand on Amazon and recommended by Alexa.

Our creative offered a little goodness by driving people to add a free box of Honey Nut Cheerios to their carts when shopping, promoted as a Prime Day giveaway. We knew that the more people did so, the more Cheerios would be recommended over and over again for millions of customers when shopping with Alexa. By hacking search results on Amazon, we created ‘incidental loyalty’ and proved how it can be a massive advantage on voice platforms.

Describe the execution (20% of vote)

We drove awareness of our Prime Day giveaway on Amazon at every touchpoint across screens. With ‘Add Free Honey Nut Cheerios’ shopping buttons, we captured people on the homepage and checkouts. Amazon Prime Day hosts a live video stream on its website—its very own shopping network—and we had a custom segment on it to raise awareness of our promotion. We took over the homepage with banners, knowing millions of shoppers were passing through Amazon getting great deals.

What seemed like a traditional media promotion allowed us to get ahead of the curve in commerce on voice platforms.

List the results (30% of vote)

Honey Nut Cheerios became the number-one grocery item on Prime Day.

Sales increase of 64% vs. the week prior, year over year.

80% of customers in July were new to the brand.

Every time someone said, “Hey Alexa, add cereal to my cart,” Alexa recommended Cheerios, turning the threat of being delisted on commerce platforms into a competitive advantage and establishing future incidental loyalty on Amazon.
Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2019
Gold Media
Excellence in Media Execution
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