Streaming for nature: How General Mills and Amazon Ads supported the National Park Foundation during Earth Month

June 15, 2023 | By Matt Miller, Sr. Copywriter

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When Chad Jones first started at the National Park Foundation (NPF) during the summer of 2022, he saw firsthand how nature could transform lives. Funded in part by General Mills through the Nature Valley brand, the ParkVentures program works to bring individuals of all abilities into a space where they can experience nature.

“I was personally just really in love with the program,” says Jones, the senior vice president of corporate partnerships at NPF. “A person who perhaps has an inability to maybe stand up or communicate effectively may not be able to experience a park in the same way as other people. Being able to expose people to this space where they can have a sense of freedom and wonder and awe and shock—that’s not a luxury but a right that every human should have.”

For one of these outings, the program Every Body in the Water organized adaptive surfing and paddleboarding workshops for people with disabilities at Gateway National Recreation Area in Rockaway Beach, New York.

“The fact that Nature Valley was able to create these incredible experiences for every person, I thought [it] was amazing,” Jones said. “That’s where our work with General Mills and others was able to really create a space that’s accessible for people of all abilities, but also across identity groups, ethnicities, and sexual orientations, to be seen and to be in these parks. That’s an incredible equalizer.”

This year during Earth Month, General Mills worked with Amazon Ads and Fire TV to help fund NPF programs like these through the Stream It Forward program. Through this Fire TV cause-marketing initiative, audiences were incentivized to stream video content to help raise money for the NPF, an organization that protects and enhances America’s more than 400 national parks for present and future generations. During the Press Play for Nature campaign, which ran from April 1 to April 26, Amazon donated $1 for every hour of select nature content streamed on Fire TV.

Chad Jones

Chad Jones is the senior vice president of corporate partnerships at the National Park Foundation, who has seen firsthand how support from brands like General Mills and Amazon can help people experience nature.

Content and brands supporting the natural world

General Mills’ relationship with the NPF stretches back more than a decade. And in 2022, that relationship evolved to include support from Fire TV and Amazon Ads. In 2022, during unBoxed, the flagship Amazon Ads event, the General Mills team learned about the Stream It Forward program. Through Stream It Forward, Fire TV works with brand sponsors and content providers to raise money for a brand’s chosen charity.

“We saw this as an opportunity to authentically connect streaming with sustainability and Earth Day initiatives, and our brands pride themselves on being connected to cause-marketing efforts,” says Jamie Needham, a senior manager of customer marketing at General Mills.

Fire TV and General Mills worked with Prime Video to select nine nature titles that can educate and inspire viewers during Earth Month. Among the titles that audiences can stream for a good cause are Wildest Places, a 2019 nature docuseries showcasing extraordinary natural habitats, and The Pollinators, a documentary about beekeepers. Throughout the campaign, these titles saw a 30% increase in streaming, and Stream It Forward reached its goal of raising $100,000 for the NPF, with General Mills matching that donation.1

“It’s education, but we’re also giving consumers the opportunity to give to national parks,” Needham said. “If we can’t bring people to the park, how can we bring the park to them? And streaming is the perfect opportunity to do that; we’re helping to provide experiences to people who may not be able to get out into nature.”

NPF’s ParkVentures program

With support from Nature Valley, NPF’s ParkVentures program helps people create, and strengthen, life-long relationships with parks.

Store Event

Amazon Fresh hosted an in-person event as part of the Stream It Forward campaign on April 22 and April 23 in Oaklawn, Illinois.

Natural trail

During the in store event visitors viewed some of the Press Play for Nature streaming content and sample Nature Valley, LÄRABAR, and Annie’s products.

As part of the campaign, General Mills offered discounts on snacks from Nature Valley, LÄRABAR, EPIC, Mott’s, and Annie’s. Amazon Ads and General Mills spread the word to consumers about Stream It Forward through Fire TV feature rotator, inline banner, and screensaver ad placements. The campaign came together on a tailored landing page, where consumers explored products and learned about the Stream It Forward program. Amazon Fresh also hosted an in-person event on April 22 and April 23 in Oaklawn, Illinois, where visitors viewed some of the Press Play for Nature streaming content and sample Nature Valley, LÄRABAR, and Annie’s products.

“We know that environmental responsibility is an important issue for customers,” says Claire Paull, director of global marketing at Amazon Ads. “It is important for brands to lead with their values and take a stand on issues like climate change. Not only is this the right thing to do, but it also helps brands build trust, loyalty, and long-term relationships with customers.”

According to the 2023 Higher Impact report from Amazon Ads and Environics Research, 66% of consumers are actively seeking out brands that are sustainable in their business practices. Additionally, 78% of consumers say they are tired of brands acting like they are exempt from environmental responsibility.

“I’m a firm believer that it’s important for businesses to do good,” says Jones. “I think we should normalize the sense of helping create a bridge for consumers to align their own personal passion points, which might be wildlife or conservation, or it might be creating more equitable opportunities for marginalized communities. And that’s something that General Mills and Amazon are doing through collaborations with us. This is a reinforcer of their values as companies, and it’s a reinforcer for their customers and employees to say, ‘This is what we stand for.’”

The 2023 Higher Impact report found that consumers will carry out their own research for more-sustainable products, with 35% indicating third-party certification was among their most reliable sources of information.

“I think that brands have the voice and ability to stand up for initiatives on a bigger stage,” Needham says. “By General Mills having authentic relationships to different causes through our brands, it helps us expand our mission and connect to what we know consumers care about.”

Programs like Stream It Forward, Jones says, help inspire individuals to cherish the natural world around them. “It’s about empowering and enabling people to see something a little bit bigger,” Jones says. “We’re grateful to have the opportunity to work with General Mills and Amazon to connect with people. And we’d love to figure out ways to build on that in the future.”

If you’re interested in advertising your Climate Pledge Friendly products, reach out to your Amazon Ads account executive.

1 Amazon internal data, 2023.