Nelly and the Honey Nut Cheerios Campaign

I lived in St. Louis for four years. In that time I learned that two specific entities are as important to that city as any two things are important to any city: Cardinals baseball and Nelly. Stan Musial is the city’s George Washington and “Country Grammer” is its National Anthem. 

Financially, Nelly, his kids, his future grandchildren and all the future grandchildren of the entire St. Lunatics were probably set for life as far back as 2005. However, that hasn’t stopped Nelly from continuing to make music, star in films and television shows and branch out with public business ventures. While most of the country can roll their eyes at the recent subpar material that doesn’t hold a candle to the first five years of hits Nelly dropped, that’s simply not an option for St. Louis. Admitting that Nelly is anything but the most important cultural figure in America would be like admitting the Statue of Liberty is more recognizable than the St. Louis Arch. In other words, it’s not happening. 

That’s what Pimp Juice will get you in St. Louis: immunity. 

The truth is that in the past five years, Nelly’s music has been much more of an appeal to as many demographics as possible. He’s not a rapper as much as he is a multi-faceted pop star. This is most evidenced by his remix of “Cruise” by Florida Georgia Line earlier this year:

This video is unifying to say the least. It proves that, no matter if you are the type of person that listens to rap music or the type of person that listens to country music, we can all come together under the agreement that it’s perfectly acceptable to demean women.

This broad approach of Nelly’s brand has to reach out to the young generation of America as well.

Enter BuzzBee, the Honey Nut Cheerios’ mascot. BuzzBee and Nelly have teamed up for the #MustBeTheHoney campaign. He used to be “Smokin’ dubs in clubs, blowin’ up like Coco Puffs,” now he’s endorsing Honey Nut Cheerios as proven by this commercial:

My initial reaction to this commercial was that Nelly’s kitchen is almost inconveniently long. You really don’t need that much space. But my next thought was “how has this commercial been out for almost a month and I’m just now seeing it?” Then I realized that this was probably because it only airs on children’s TV channels. If this is the case, then the scary reality is that some of the humans seeing this commercial weren’t even alive when “Country Grammer,” “E.I.” Ride Wit Me” and “Hot in Herre” came out. There are actually children that are seeing this and saying the words “That’s that guy who sings ‘Just a Dream,’ ‘Hey Porsche,’ and the ‘Cruise Remix.’ 

But the #MustBeTheMoney campaign didn’t end there.  Just last week, Nelly tweeted this:

ST. LOUIS STAND UP!!!…The Lou is all about that M.B.T.H life. 

Remixing a song that we’ve all sung countless times in the shower and car….pretty genius work by the people on the Honey Nut Cheerios marketing team. 

I did a little research and found out that is indeed a website, complete with a little message from BuzzBee himself. Here is a small excerpt from that description:

“I mean home-bee, Nelly-yeah he’s been great! He showed me his super neat music studio and even let me sing about honey while I was there; it was like being in a shiny hive that makes music instead of honey.”

Apparently, they are running an interactive “Must Be The Honey Moment” contest where you tweet @BuzzBee something “sweet” that happened to you today with the hashtag #MustBeTheMoney. If it’s good enough, you could be featured on the Honey Nut Cheerios Tumblr page. Naturally, I had to take my best shot.

Whether or not this bold Nelly marketing campaign will pay off for Honey Nut Cheerios is still to be determined. I honestly have no idea if children will ask their parents to buy the cereal that Nelly is endorsing. I do know that grocery stores in St. Louis WILL move Honey Nut Cheerio boxes faster than you can say “Whatever happened to Murphy Lee?” It’s a safe bet, I only lived there for four years and I’ve already got a box in my pantry. 

Sure, it might actually be Nelly pretending to talk to a fictional bee with a high pitched voice, but all anyone in the 314 hears is:

So feel me when I bring it,

Sing it loud,

I’m from the Lou,’ and I’m proud, 

Run a mile for the cause. 

Jonny Auping 

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