Cheerios Marketer Stands Behind Ad After It Sparks Hate Talk

Jun 3, 2013  •  Post A Comment

The marketers of Cheerios cereal appear to be standing behind a commercial that has become the focus of hate talk.

USA Today reports that the new ad featuring a mixed-race family had its comments section disabled on YouTube after sparking an online outcry. The clip has been viewed more than 1.7 million times in its few days on YouTube.

“Social media blow-back has been fierce, nasty and unusually racist after the top-selling General Mills cereal brand last week began airing — and then posted online — a commercial featuring a sweet, mixed-race girl,” USA Today reports. “In the ad, she is seeking nutritional advice from her white mother and black father. The spot ends with her pouring a bunch of Cheerios on the chest of her sleeping father — believing it will make his heart healthier.”

In an emailed comment, Camille Gibson, vice president of marketing for Cheerios, said: "We are a family brand and not all of the comments were family-friendly."

The report adds: “General Mills is standing by the spot and has no plans to stop airing it or to take it down from its YouTube channel. ‘There are many kinds of families, and Cheerios celebrates them all,’ says Gibson. Despite some serious, negative response online, ‘it’s been a very positive response overall,’ she says.”

A number of marketing experts are praising the spot, the piece notes. Barbara Lippert, media and pop culture columnist for MediaPost.com, said of the situation: "A progressive-looking commercial collides with the ugliness of the Internet." She added: "They can’t bow to this incredible ugliness and underbelly of hatred. If the father had not been black, it would have been just another spot."

Ken Smikle, president of Target Market News, which tracks African-American marketing, says the commercial is getting attention because Cheerios is such a mainstream brand. “We think of Cheerios as a great American icon," he said. "There are going to be people who feel that their image of what’s American is now being challenged by these iconic brands."

Here’s the commercial:

9 Comments

  1. Really? People need to get with it and realize it is 2013!! We should REALLY be past all of this racist crap!

  2. Couldn’t agree with you more Ed. Unfortunately you have to look no farther than this publications story concerning Fox News anchors justifiable outrage. They have been covertly promoting racist BS since, oh I would say, the 2008 elections.

  3. These aren’t just rants from red state rednecks. I live in the “progressive” Hudson Valley of New York State. As an old white guy walking around with a Colonel Sanders beard, I get to hear disturbing racist comments from my neighbors in the Dunkin’ Donuts, the diner and walking down the street. A virulent racism still exists among whites of all stripes impacting people of color, A less virulent but no less galling form manifests itself in nearly everything we do, insidiously and below the radar. Here’s a song about that.
    http://biffthuringer.bandcamp.com/track/white-mans-world

  4. I thought it was a cute spot. Didn’t even notice the mom was white & the dad black until the controversy. Feel sorry for the racist out there. What a miserable life they must lead if this gets their panties in such a wad. (Also, hate to tell them, their “blood” is not “pure”. Almost everyone in the world has various ethnicity in their ancestry.)

  5. I am going out to buy a box of Cheerios just to support the brand. We should all do the same, and shut up those stupid hate-filled racists.

  6. Had to watch that commercial about 9 times before I actually connected the white lady to that pretty child to the black man on the couch.
    My reaction was, “Cheerios did whaaaat!!!!”
    And I’m black and I was thoroughly stunned.
    I am not stunned at the reaction that was expected. Don’t let anyone fool you…racism is alive and well in America.

  7. I just had the same thought. Next time I am at the grocery, I’m buying some Honey-Nut Cheerios!

  8. Congrats to Cheerios for leading us out of the “dark ages” and showing a slice of life today through a family structure that definitely exists. Let the haters hate.

  9. Amen! So with u. This is what the people are looking kike more and more and all need to be represented. God bless Cheerios for bing so brave to air this and not remove it because of ignorant people! I hope any of u are not planning on going to Heaven, because guess what, bi-racial people will be there and racist won’t! And now its time for deeeeep thought :)

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