General Mills made the best of a potentially sticky situation after being confronted by advocates from the National Eating Disorder Association regarding the company’s recent television ad. Representatives of the NEDA said the commercial was troublesome for those vulnerable to eating disorders or those with a predisposition to developing such an illness. General Mills wasted little time in removed the ad from on-air circulation on June 10.
The pulling of the ad has since became a positive media story in itself.
Kirstie Foster, director of public relations for General Mills, told PR News on June 17 in regard to the ad removal, “It is simply the right thing to do. Any correlation was certainly unintentional. But if even a few people could take from the ad that misimpression, then the right thing to do was to pull the ad—and we have.”
According to Lynn Grefe, president and CEO of NEDA, after conversations with General Mills executives Eric Galler, vice president of marketing, Yoplait, and Jeff Hagen, director of consumer services, the company agreed to discontinue the ad campaign, which contained language the NEDA claimed is a trigger for people most vulnerable to eating disorders.
“We applaud Yoplait and General Mills for taking the time to speak with us, listening to our concerns and their quick action to provide a solution,” said Grefe in a June 14 statement that has gained much media attention. Grefe went on to thank Yoplait and General Mills for assuming a leadership role in corporate responsibility and accountability.
For Yoplait, a brand marketed as part of a healthy lifestyle, respecting the fine line between disciplined dieting and behaviors associated with eating disorders in its advertising is critical. While the company may have lost some ad exposure this week, it gained immense goodwill from the mere act of listening and responding.