Redefining Wholesome

For those who still think making a profit and making a difference are mutually exclusive, we present Honey Maid. This past spring, the

venerable graham cracker brand launched a spot depicting a variety of non-traditional families enjoying its products: a single-dad family; an interracial family; a rock n’ roll-playing, tattooed family; a military family; and, strikingly, a two-dad family.

The tagline leaves no doubt about Honey Maid’s intent: “No matter how things change, what makes us wholesome never will. Honey Maid. Everyday wholesome snacks for every wholesome family. This is wholesome.”

Andrew Solomon – author of the extraordinary “Far From the Tree,” about families with exceptional children – noted in The New Yorker, “For a long time, prejudice made a certain business sense. . . . The regressive side in the so-called culture wars was presumed to include a majority of American consumers; businesses, worried about their image, tended to defer to them. Now, Honey Maid, that old-fashioned brand of graham crackers, has launched an ad that shows, in the most radical and moving way of any national campaign so far, how much that has changed.”

Even more striking was how Honey Maid handled the inevitable backlash. As depicted in a follow-up spot released on social media, the advertiser commissioned two artists to create a “Love” sculpture made up of rolled-up printouts of negative tweets and emails – then surround that sculpture with rolled-up printouts of the 10 times as many positive messages it received.

“The pacing of the spot is impeccable: the first half turns hatred into love, and the second half provides evidence of love itself,” Solomon concludes. “In its first day online, it garnered more than 1.5 million views.”

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