2017 Winners


General Mills

Silver Public Relations Agency of the Year: The Colony Project

Campaign Background

Dunkaroos was a truly beloved snack from the ‘90s. Since then, Canadians have fallen out of love. General Mills wanted to reignite brand love for Dunkaroos in a unique and creative way to get people talking about their favourite nostalgic snack.

The Goal

Agency The Colony Project was tasked with driving awareness about Dunkaroos and encouraging conversation to remind Canadians to purchase. Due to a very limited budget and no paid media for the campaign, the agency relied solely on media/influencer relations to drive conversation and therefore, awareness.


-One exclusive story resulting in 500,000 impressions
-Widespread media outreach generating up to 30 articles and 10 – 15 million impressions
-50 – 100 social posts resulting from influencer/media drops

The Target

Because the goal was to create a campaign idea that was bold and accessible by tapping into a sense of ‘90s nostalgia, the target audience consisted of older millennials – a notoriously tough-to-reach audience – who would remember Dunkaroos fondly from their childhood.

Insights and Strategy

Research revealed Dunkaroos were discontinued in the U.S. in 2012, and Americans were upset. In fact, through social listening the team uncovered an online black market for Dunkaroos where Americans were buying Dunkaroos through Canadian resellers on Amazon and eBay for up to $40 per package, which retails in Canada for $2.75. A media scan also showed articles talking about this phenomenon, noting the snack was the top-seller for many of these online stores.

Meanwhile in Canada, although Dunkaroos were still sold here, brand affinity was declining. The strategy was born out of the insight that millennial Americans were going through Dunkaroo withdrawal while ‘90s nostalgia was at its peak, and Canada was the only country in the world that could fill this void.

By capitalizing on how much Americans crave the sugary snack, Colony decided to create a campaign that would connect Canadians with Dunkaroos to Americans who wanted them via an interactive, sharing website called “Smugglaroos.” Canadians could sign up on the site to “smuggle,” while Americans would share their location, and vice versa. The strategy was to generate buzz. People actually using the site was simply a bonus to get others to remember their favourite snack.

The Plan

To support the launch of “Smugglaroos,” the agency created a robust communications approach that supported the strategy to drive conversation about Dunkaroos based on:

The Website

A website for Canadians to register their upcoming vacation times/locations in the U.S., along with the number of Dunkaroos packages they could bring. For Americans, they could sign up with their location and find out who would be travelling to their city, and when. Either could request a match and be given contact details to arrange for the snack exchange.

Exclusive Media Interview

Before the site or news of the campaign officially launched, Colony offered the story as an exclusive to a top-tier marketing reporter, Susan Krashinsky from the Globe and Mail. The rationale for the campaign and unique marketing approach to the business challenge was shared.

Launch Day Media Drops

Media drops were sent to reporters/outlets in both Canada and the U.S. These drops contained a call-to-action to visit the website to sign up and start sharing the snack across the border. The launch occurred two weeks before the U.S. presidential election, so the team leveraged the tagline “Make America Dunk Again” and custom printed it on branded hats to be included in the drops.

North American Media Relations

The Colony team pitched general, lifestyle and broadcast media across the country about “Smugglaroos.” Due to the Globe and Mail exclusive, interest from outlets on both sides of the border was immediately generated.

Influencer Outreach

Colony also engaged Canadian/U.S. influencers with high social followings to create and share content through their own channels.

The Results

-42 media hits
-More than 55 million impressions, beating the objective by 10,900%
-More than $550,000 in free media
-More than 700 web sign-ups
-Increased social talk in Canada by 45%
-$0.0009 cost-per-contact

In terms of qualitative metrics, every piece of coverage mentioned the campaign’s name and the link to the “Smugglaroos” website.

Key pieces of coverage included:
-Broadcast feature in Bloomberg TV News
-Exclusive interview in the Globe and Mail
-Other outlets: Cosmopolitan, Teen Vogue, BuzzFeed, Seventeen Magazine, Yahoo.com, Elite Daily, Huffington Post, MSN and the Daily Mail UK.