Ad of the Day: Honey Maid Preaches Acceptance in Even More Polarized America

Droga5's 'Wholesome' campaign goes beyond the nuclear family

Honey Maid's "This Is Wholesome" campaign enters its third year today at a cultural crossroads.

On the one hand, the Mondelēz brand's message of diversity and inclusivity is right in step with American culture—following milestones like the national legalization of same-sex marriage. On the other hand, the bitter tone of Election 2016 has revealed the stark divisions, and cultural and racial resentments, clearly still at play in the U.S. 

Honey Maid's latest "Wholesome" advertising from Droga5, which you can see first on Adweek.com, balances those forces by embracing a new word as a central theme—acceptance. And it goes beyond looking at the changing face of the nuclear family to address broader political themes, with one spot that shows neighbors from different cultures putting aside their fears and becoming friends. 

That spot, "Neighbors," seems crafted explicitly in response to immigration issues that have made headlines in the presidential race over the past year. "I didn't know anything about her culture. Only what I saw in the news," one neighbor says in voiceover—while looking out through her home's blinds at her new neighbor. 

See the rest of the spot here:

Adweek asked Katrina Plummer, equity brand manager for Honey Maid, whether the ad is meant to be taken in part as a commentary on the current political climate.

"We are watching society change over time, because we think it is important to be reflective of today's world, and to be inclusive of a cross-section of those unique families that make up the American society," Plummer replied. "Honey Maid is acknowledging the changing family dynamic among our consumers and are excited about the opportunity for 'This Is Wholesome' to feature and celebrate real diverse families."

Three more spots address the idea of acceptance in different ways, including an adoption story, one father accepting his gay son and son-in-law, and another father who comes home from war as a double amputee. In each spot, the family members are seen putting peanut butter and heart-shaped strawberry slices on graham crackers.

Plummer said the new commercials evolve Honey Maid's message of wholesomeness by focusing more directly on this idea of acceptance.

The campaign "has always shared the stories of diverse, wholesome American families," she said. "This latest chapter for Honey Maid is going one step further to celebrate their stories of acceptance and show how acceptance can foster love and friendship within families and among neighbors. We tell four different stories of acceptance featuring five families—a traditional Hispanic father who found joy and love in accepting his gay son and son-in-law, a disabled veteran and wife that have come to accept their new post-war reality, a young boy who has accepted his adopted brother, and two neighboring families who have grown to realize they have more similarities than differences."

In the press release accompanying the campaign, Honey Maid acknowledges the split nature of American culture, which is advancing in some ways but still stuck in patterns of hate.

"Acceptance isn't always a reality," the brand says. "The negative headlines you read on the Internet often reflect the animosity, bigotry and intolerance that society grapples with today. In fact, a recent Pew Research Center survey found that nearly three-quarters of American adults who use the Internet have witnessed online harassment. But what if you could experience it as a place that was more accepting of different ideas, beliefs and lifestyles?"

To that end, the new campaign also features an interesting online component. Honey Maid is introducing a "Wholesome Button"—a browser app that "allows users to experience the internet through the lens of acceptance and positivity." Clicking on the button changes images and headlines on any web page to "content celebrating love, heartwarming family connections and acceptance."

For example, this is the wholesome-ized version of today's New York Times homepage: