In 2010, Annie Parsons unknowingly submitted to General Mills as unorthodox a resume as it gets. The food company had just announced that it officially had retired its Cocoa Mole Larabar flavor. It had just a few dozen boxes of the fruit and nut bars left and invited fans on Facebook to vie for the limited supply. Parsons, a country music songwriter, submitted a song.
Cocoa Mole, Parsons wrote in the song, is the "best Larabar I ever tasted."
The company responded by sending Parsons several boxes of the discontinued flavor. "I thought that'd be the end of it," says Parsons.
But a few months later General Mills asked Parsons to write several more songs about its Larabars and perform them at a natural foods trade show in California. A job offer followed in late 2011. General Mills wanted Parsons to work as the Larabar community host.
"My first reaction was that I wasn't looking for another job," recalls Parsons, who had no marketing experience at the time and was happy with her day job in tech support at an email marketer. But the opportunities associated with being the consumer-facing voice of the Larabar brand—like traveling to a fair trade cocoa farm in the Dominican Republican—won her over.
Before she worked at General Mills, Parson was already eating several Larabars a week. Now, she says, "it's one a day," all for the sake of the brand, of course. "It's a lot easier to be enthusiastic about a product that you personally love."