Big G Gets Into Weight Loss Biz

Dec 21, 2004
George Anderson

By George Anderson

The Wall Street Journal reports that what started out a year ago as an in-house initiative to help General Mills’ employees lose weight is turning into a consumer marketing initiative the company calls “the most comprehensive health-oriented campaign” in its history.

The program, named Brand New You, is designed to help people lose weight gradually (10 pounds in 10 weeks) by creating customized meals based on their cooking habits as well as recommending specific exercise plans. Consumers can register on a Web site to obtain their program.

The General Mills dietary program, which provides recommendations using the company’s 80 brands as well as products it does not manufacture, is set to kick off next month with ads in Sunday newspapers plus a coupon distribution and food sampling effort in 6,000 supermarkets across the U.S.

Mark Addicks, chief marketing officer for General Mills, told The Wall Street Journal the new program is all about balance, noting the diet does not preclude consumer indulgence from time to time. “There is a strong consumer need to find healthy solutions. This is very much about moderation,” he said.

Mr. Addicks, in addition to being General Mills’ marketing chief, is also someone who has practiced the Brand New You program. In fact, the decision to launch the program to consumers was made after he lost 22 pounds following it.

According to General Mills, 500 employees, including Mr. Addicks, participated in the weight loss program, dropping a combined 2,990 pounds.

Moderator’s Comment: Will General Mills’ Brand New You diet program connect with consumers? How would you grade the program on a marketing innovation

We can see it now. Television commercials featuring Mark Addicks and others from General Mills talking about how great the Brand New You diet is and how
they’re not only employed by Big G but members in the diet plan, as well.

George Anderson – Moderator

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