General Mills Canada is putting a spotlight on the declining honey bee population by temporarily taking Honey Nut Cheerios' iconic mascot "Buzz" off of its cereal boxes.
The Bring Back the Bees campaign in Canada has been launched to bring awareness to the importance of bees as pollinators for crops, the company's website says.
"One-third of the foods we depend on for our survival are made possible by the natural pollination work that bees provide," Emma Eriksson, director of marketing for General Mills Canada, told Adweek. "With ongoing losses in bee populations being reported across Canada, we wanted to leverage our packaging to draw attention to this important cause and issue a call to action to Canadians to help plant 35 million wildflowers — one for every person in Canada."
The global bee population has been in decline due to colony collapse disorder since the winter of 2006-2007, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
General Mills Canada has also teamed up with Vesey seeds to give away free wildflower seeds packs, encouraging people across the country to plant flowers.
"Bees need wildflower pollen and nectar to stay happy and healthy, so planting wildflowers is a fun, easy way to help the bees," the Bring Back the Bees website says.
This is the first time in the brand's history that General Mills Canada has taken "Buzz" off the box, Eriksson said.
A million boxes of Honey Nut Cheerios will be sold in Canada promoting the #BringBackTheBees campaign, which will run from March to July, according to Adweek.
General Mills would not say whether it would launch a similar program in the U.S., telling NBC the company does not discuss its future marketing activities.