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General Mills To Donate Up to $1M

January 11, 2000

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) _ General Mills has launched a new campaign to fight cancer, but this time the company isn’t keeping the specifics of its offer under wraps.

General Mills said Tuesday it will donate up to $1 million to the American Cancer Society, 50 cents for each card mailed in by Oct. 1 from the outside of specially-marked boxes of Cheerios, Wheaties and Total cereals.

The campaign is the first on-package fund-raising effort by the American Cancer Society and marks the first time the organization has partnered with a food company, General Mills said.

In a cancer-fighting campaign by the Golden Valley-based company last year, General Mills promised to donate 50 cents to breast cancer research for each lid returned from specially marked containers of Yoplait yogurt.

However, Georgia officials complained that consumers had to open the yogurt before finding a statement on the inside of the lids saying the company’s donation would be limited to $100,000.

Customers returned 9.4 million lids, which would have meant a donation of $4.7 million if there had been no limit. The company ended up donating $200,000 plus an additional $63,000 to resolve the Georgia complaints.

A later Yoplait lid-return campaign promised to donate 10 cents per lid to breast cancer research, with a $500,000 minimum and up to $500,000 more depending on how many lids are returned. The terms of this deal appear on the outside of the containers.

The cereal campaign features bicyclist Lance Armstrong and golfer Arnold Palmer, both cancer survivors. And this time, the details are all on the outside of the packages, said General Mills spokesman Greg Zimprich.

The campaign will provide important visibility to efforts to finance cancer research, treatment services and resources by the American Cancer Society, said Gerald Woolam, president of the organization.