Honey Nut Cheerios has a new dance partner: Usher will star in a TV ad for the cereal debuting Monday that features the pop star making moves alongside brand mascot Buzz the Bee.
The ad, by Saatchi & Saatchi, New York, is the latest pop culture play by the General Mills-owned brand, which is currently running a spot featuring Grumpy Cat, the popular internet meme based on a real cat named Tardar Sauce.
Last year, Buzz joined forces with Nelly for a campaign called "Must Be the Honey" that included a family-friendly remake of the rap classic "Ride Wit Me." With the Usher spot, the brand is trying to capitalize on the fact that bees communicate through dance. The ad, which will air nationally, features Usher's new song, "She Came to Give It to You." United Entertainment Group helped broker the deal between the cereal brand and pop star.
The various pop culture references are a way to connect with the brand's broad base of consumers, said Nishant Shukla, associate marketing manager for Cheerios. It's also about Buzz "coming into this real world in a fun and authentic way," he added.
Peter Moore Smith, Saatchi's executive creative director for the General Mills business, said in an emailed statement that "the work we did with Nelly was very popular, so we felt Usher was a great next chapter; something beyond what an ordinary commercial might achieve." Mr. Shukla said the brand has not made a decision about continuing its partnership with Nelly, but "it certainly would be an option in the future."
Honey Nut Cheerios is the nation's top-selling ready-to-eat cereal brand with $548.8 million in sales and 6.04% market share as of the 52 weeks ending July 13, according to IRI. Dollar sales fell by 3.7% in the period, but Honey Nut gained 0.03 points of market share as it outperformed the struggling cereal category, whose total sales fell by 4.2% to a little more than $9 billion.