Honey Maids This is Wholesome Campaign Essay

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Honey Maid graham crackers are a childhood staple. However, the brand has been growing its consumer base by using an unusual approach. Its “This is Wholesome” campaign depicts a variety of nontraditional families enjoying its products in the form of s’mores, in milk, and with honey. The families include same-sex couples, a punk rock family with tattoos, an East Asian family, and others. The message conveys an expanded definition of the traditional American family and is clearly marketed to people who either view themselves as being a part of such families (either because of friends or relatives) or as strong supporters of expanding the definition of family.

The advertisement’s images, however, other than the fact that nontraditional families are used, are fairly heartwarming and gentle. They include children playing drums with their parents and a baby sucking on a bottle as well as the children making food with their parents. This serves to reinforce the normalcy of these family units. The social groups represented in the advertisement appear to be largely from an upper-middle-class income bracket, based upon the nice, attractively-furnished homes in which they reside (even the punk family with the tattooed father has an expensive drum set and family living room).

The upper-middle-class family demographic with children, residing in the suburbs, is presumably the target consumer persona for the advertisement, given that higher income individuals tend to be better educated and have a more expansive view of what constitutes a family unit. According to a recent Gallup poll regarding gay marriage, perhaps the most controversial family unit represented in the advertisement: “For people with a post-graduate education, 79 percent approved compared with 53 percent of people with a high school education or less” (McCammon, 2017, par. 10).

Of course, it could be noted that according to the poll, even the majority of individuals based upon income and education who traditionally opposed gay marriage now support it. This suggest that support is becoming more mainstream, and companies like Honey Maid have less to lose, economically speaking, by supporting less traditional families.

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Consumers who may oppose it are in the minority and may be more lukewarm in their enthusiasm to actively oppose gay marriage through avoiding the product. Honey Maid is not a high-end product (it is not organic, imported, nor does it have a great deal of social cache). It is a standard comfort food that is enjoyed by children. By positioning itself to attract consumers from a higher income bracket, it can retain its traditional base with more middle-to-low income consumers and perhaps encourage higher-income consumers to switch back from pricier, trendier alternatives.

The advertisements both violate and reinforce cultural norms. In terms of violating such norms, the advertisement shows families which are not the standard white, middle-class, heterosexual family units. But all of the activities the families are engaged in are very traditional, such as bottle-feeding infants, feeding children breakfast, and parents playing with children outside and inside of suburban homes. The message communicated by the advertisement is that family is the most important thing in the world and children are and should be the center of a parent’s world. Children’s appetites are also given focus, as parents make s’mores and pour milk in breakfast cereal. It is suggested that feeding children sugary graham crackers is part of wholesomeness and bonding with the family by implication, again giving added resonance to the brand image.

Cultural norms are violated in unexpected ways in the sense that the advertisement does show men as nurturers. This is seen both in the same-sex couple and also in the punk rock….....

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McCammon, S. (2017). Same sex marriage support is at all time high even among groups that opposed it. NPR. Retrieved from: https://www.npr.org/2017/06/26/534443494/same-sex- marriage-support-at-all-time-high-even-among-groups-that-opposed-it

This is Wholesome. (2014). Honey Maid. YouTube. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2xeanX6xnRU

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