2. This whole weird thing started in April, when a teenager made a joke about eating granola bars and watching anime.
3. That’s when Jess Wangsness, the 36-year-old senior community engagement specialist for Nature Valley, decided to tweet back at the young anime fan.
4. Other anime fans apparently thought it was pretty amazing that a granola bar would tweet at them about anime, so they kept it going.
5. “I ended up mentioning an anime director by the name of Hayao Miyazaki,” Wangsness told Buzzfeed. “I thought, well, if Nature Valley were to like any kind of anime, I think Nature Valley would really like his films.”
6. She said mentioning Miyazaki seemed to give her street cred in the anime Twitter community.
8. And then at the end of April, the Nature Valley Anime Art Fest began. Teenagers are putting granola bars in anime screencaps and the Twitter account is retweeting them out to people.
9. Wangsness says that if anything has swears in it or looks strange or suggestive, though, she doesn’t respond.
10. And if you’re wondering if high level executives at General Mills know what’s going, the answer is yes.
11. “I’ve had explain to what anime was to a lot of people [at General Mills],” Wangsness says. “But everybody’s been really excited about it.”
12. She’s also been careful to keep it genuine and not get too pushy with users. She says she never pretends to know what the anime fans are talking about.
13. But she’s not totally out of the loop either. She says her husband thankfully is a pretty big anime fan and she’s actually seen a good amount of it.
14. Though there has been some chatter at Nature Valley maybe trying to do an outdoor anime convention.
15. “The link to anime and Nature Valley and granola bars is, for us, always kind of rooted in the kind of anime that’s also rooted in nature,” Wangsness says.
16. But as for right now, Nature Valley doesn’t have any huge plans to cash in on this incredibly bizarre thing. But Wangsness thinks it’s pretty cool.
17. “I never anticipated they would start creating granola bar nature valley anime art,” she says. “that was completely, wildly, never something I saw coming but it’s been really fun.”
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