General Mills, Inc. (GIS) Is Proud to Celebrate Alternative Lifestyles

Following its surprisingly controversial Cheerios commercial featuring a mixed-race family, cereal maker General Mills, Inc. (NYSE:GIS) came out in support of Gay Pride Month using its Lucky Charms marshmallow rainbow as its rallying flag.

Complete with a website designed around the hashtag #LuckyToBe, where cereal lovers can share stories of why you’re “lucky to be you,” and a commercial that extols the virtues of individual uniqueness, General Mills, Inc. (NYSE:GIS) continues to be progressive in its ideals.

It’s not really a new position the cereal maker has taken, as it has been an advocate in favor of alternative lifestyles for some time, speaking out last year against a Minnesota constitutional amendment to ban marriage equality as well as supporting workplace protections to the LGBT community in testimony before the U.S. Senate and in a company blog post.

General Mills, Inc. (NYSE:GIS)

Yet for all that, its ad campaign and marketing efforts are surprisingly devoid of any specific reference to LGBT individuals, which apparently is by design. In an interview with industry trade site BakeryandSnacks.com, General Mills, Inc. (NYSE:GIS) said the campaign is not really about any one group and it wants to be inclusive of all individuals.

Video: #LuckyToBe 100% Me

Where companies used to keep their views on social mores to themselves, these days corporations are very publicly wearing them on their sleeves. Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ:SBUX) CEO Howard Schultz pushed back at its annual shareholder meeting against the notion that its stance in favor of same-sex marriage hurt company profits, telling the investor who’d posed the question:

If you feel respectfully that you can get a higher return than the 38% that you got last year, it’s a free country. You can sell your shares at Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ:SBUX) and buy shares in another company. Thank you very much.

Last year the old Kraft snack foods company (now Mondelez International Inc (NASDAQ:MDLZ)) stirred up controversy by posting a picture of a rainbow Oreo to its Facebook page. J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP) has also come in for sustained criticism for hiring openly gay entertainer Ellen DeGeneres as its spokeswoman, and Whole Foods Market, Inc. (NASDAQ:WFM) CEO John Mackey has long considered inclusiveness as part of his “conscious capitalism” credo.

General Mills, Inc. (NYSE:GIS)’s efforts show it’s willing to tackle large social issues with its marketing, and it’s commendable that the company is supportive of a more inclusive society, but it does risk alienating a sizable portion of its consumers who might not agree with its public stance.

While proponents of the positions may believe letting those who disagree go elsewhere is best in the long run, as the very incendiary reaction to Chick-fil-A’s CEO comments about same-sex marriage along with Mackey’s criticism of Obamacare showed, serving up a bowl of politics may not always sit well with consumers.

Companies should realize there may come a time when their advocacy creates a backlash that sours the milk.

The article General Mills Is Proud to Celebrate Alternative Lifestyles originally appeared on Fool.com and is written by Rich Duprey.

Fool contributor Rich Duprey has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Starbucks and Whole Foods Market, Inc. (NASDAQ:WFM).

Copyright © 1995 – 2013 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Comments
Insider Monkey Small Cap Strategy
Insider Monkey Small Cap Strategy

Insider Monkey beat the market by 52 percentage points in 24 months. Our beta is only 1.2 (don't click this link if beating the market isn't important to you).

Lists

The Best B-Boy Movies

Most Awesome Hip Hop Documentaries

Foods That Stain Your Teeth

Richest Doctors in the World

The Best Movie Sountracks Ever

The Highest Grossing Musicals on Broadway

The Most Successful Reality TV Stars

Cheapest Cities to Visit in the US

Most Expensive Summer Camps

Most Expensive Animals in the World

Most Expensive Specialty Crops in the World

Movies That Took Ages to Make

The Longest Hollywood Films Ever Made

Most Expensive Concert Stages

The Richest Bands of all Time

10 Most Corrupt Countries 2013 List

10 Countries with the Highest Quality of Life Index

Most Expensive Mattresses in the World

5 Smallest Countries by Land Area

The Ultimate Heartbreak Songs

Richest Teenagers in the World

10 Most Haunted Places in America

10 Best Places to Retire in Florida East Coast

Top 10 Places to See Before You Die

Top 8 Countries in the World Where Justice Prevails

10 Richest States in America

15 Wealthiest Countries in the World

Richest Singers in the World

Most Expensive Tasting Menu in New York City

Most Expensive Baby Items in the World

Most Expensive Hotel Suites in Vegas

Most Expensive Brunch in New York City

Most Expensive Beef Cuts in the World

25 Best Colleges to Get a Job

Top 10 US Supermarkets

The 25 Most Dangerous Cities in the World to Visit

Most Expensive Xbox Games

Top 11 Cities Where Billionaires Live

Top 10 Most Charitable Companies in America

Most Expensive Seafood in the World

The 10 Wildest Conspiracy Theories

The 10 Best Job Markets in the US

Top 10 Accounting Scandals of All Time

The 25 Biggest Cities in the World

Top 10 Best Paying Virtual Jobs

Most Expensive Leather Shoes in the World

Top 6 Things to Buy in March

The 10 Most Stressful Jobs in America – 2014 List

Top 10 Jobs for Introverted People

Top 10 Honeymoon Destinations in the World

Subscribe

Enter your email:

Delivered by FeedBurner

X

Thanks! An email with instructions is sent to !

Your email already exists in our database. Click here to go to your subscriptions

Insider Monkey returned 47.6% in its first year! Wondering How?

Download a complete edition of our newsletter for free!