NEW YORK (AP) — A mom sits at her kitchen table writing something down when her grade schooler saunters up with a big box of Cheerios.

“Mom,” says the girl. “Yes, honey?” mom responds. “Dad told me Cheerios is good for your heart. Is that true?”

Mom glances at the box, noting that it says the whole-grain oats inside are “heart healthy.”

Cut to dad napping on the living room couch. He stirs and starts to sit up, sending a pile of Cheerios on his upper chest (where his heart is) crunchily cascading to cushions and floor.

The message is in line with the company’s long-running Heart Healthy campaign, except this 30-second ad features a black dad, white mom and biracial child and produced enough vitriol on YouTube last week that Cheerios requested the comments section be turned off.

This week, the company is standing by the fictitious family, which reflects a black-white racial mix uncommon in commercials today, especially in ads on TV, at a time when interracial and interethnic couples are on the rise in real life, according to 2010 U.S. Census data, brand strategists and marketing consultants.

“The reality is that in general most big companies don’t want to take a lot of risks,” said Laura Ries, who has written five books on marketing and brand strategy and consults for companies large, small and in between.

“The ability for nameless, faceless people to get on the Internet is out there, and companies don’t like it when people yell at them,” she said.

Camille Gibson, vice president of marketing for Cheerios, said it’s the first time the ad campaign that focuses on family moments has featured an interracial couple, with General Mills Inc. casting the actors to reflect the changing U.S. population.

“We felt like we were reflecting an American family,” Gibson said.

As a large company, Minneapolis-based General Mills is used to getting some degree of negative feedback and wasn’t surprised by the comments on YouTube, she said, but it was the first time the company requested the site turn the comments section off because of the vitriol.

Another site, Reddit, filtered out negative comments on a thread started with a comment in support of the ad. The site left Cheerios defenders’ remarks online.

The national ad will continue running as scheduled for several more months and Cheerios isn’t planning any changes, Gibson said. She declined to say whether the campaign would feature interracial ads going forward.

Overall, Gibson said, the feedback has been overwhelmingly supportive: “Consumers are actually responding very positively to the ad.”

With millions of ad dollars at stake, how seriously do big companies like Cheerios take racist backlashes? Very, said Allen Adamson, managing director of the branding firm Landor Associates, but caving to critics is just as dangerous to a company as large as Cheerios.

“Advertisers for many years always took the safe route, which was to try to ruffle no feathers and in doing so became less and less authentic and real,” he said. “To succeed today, big brands like Cheerios need to be in touch with what’s authentic and true about American families.”

Those families include married couples of different races and ethnicities who grew by 28 percent in the decade between 2000 and 2010, from 7 percent to 10 percent, Census data shows.

“The traditional approach depicting the old ‘Leave it to Beaver’ family, while offending no one, is not very realistic,” Adamson said.

In addition to Cheerios, General Mills makes Betty Crocker cake mixes, Pillsbury refrigerated dough and Yoplait yogurts. The ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi, which created the ad, referred a call from The Associated Press to its client.

Cheerios is not the first brand to show a black and white couple with a biracial child. A TV commercial for Blockbuster recently featured a white mom, black dad and biracial son enjoying a rental on the couch. As far back as 2009, Philadelphia Cream Cheese and its “spread a little joy” campaign had a black man and white woman (no wedding bands) enjoying a bagel breakfast in bed.

In another along those lines, a black woman is shown kissing a white man as the two stir a bit of Philadelphia Cream Cheese into a pasta sauce and kiss.

In the case of Cheerios, Ries said, the benefits outweigh the risks.

“It’s important for brands to take risks in line with what their brand is about,” she said. “In this case Cheerios is the first food of children everywhere.”

Also On Black America Web:

32 thoughts on “Cheerios Stands by TV Ad Showing Mixed-Race Family

  1. Some disadvantages are that the Nerd is only available in the pack, that is, you can’t purchase it separately.
    Now, there is a way to accessibility those features without getting to spend extra higher fees and costs.

  2. Produce a paste by mixing olive oil, honey and nutmeg ((dal chini() powder.
    It’s a question why something as small as hair
    can mean so much to men. It might have a beneficial impact on
    a state of mind.

  3. Freecycle isn’t only an email number, it is a motion.

    Ofcourse, you have to not prevent or keep him.
    You need to use these things in your own method to enhance your house along with your own unique ideas.

  4. Do not address your home based business like your interest.
    Over-time your number, that is full of home business leads, develops
    bigger. Next, bend your elbows and keepin constantly your
    body right, move towards the wall.

  5. Getting a humidifier may stop the humidity ranges fromm getting to high.
    There are a few common insects that have a tendency to snack away at our roses.

    An elevated temperature stimulates the immune system to fight off the infection.

  6. Besides, hands-on knowledge is very important while the expectations of clients are becoming higher aand higher.
    The idea hardly ever really happened to me. The sheepskins are another distinctive interior decor accessories.

  7. Nowadays you can shoot a vintage-look moviue or
    watch your favourite movie or your favourite give.
    To allow or activate the theme, jyst click
    on the theme’sname. Step aside, ‘world wide web’ here comes the iPhone app.

  8. Thhat section says itt is about our special needs pets…their tales and the
    folks who rescueed them. This meant I could do on Facebook something I
    could doo on any site. Arre we thinking that such a cimpany exists?

  9. To consider, the aforementioned remedies might not be of much help manage a
    mold infestation that’s far too serious.

    But, it could be passed along from person to person. Use a clean
    washcloth to help make the surface dry.

  10. Like I’ve described previously, after discovering the query, the internet browser will get the outcome.

    UPDATE: Since writing this guide JQuery continues to
    succeed. The speed of everyday activity today is incredible.

  11. I’m glad General Mills stood by their decision and will continue running the commercial. If people find it offensive then turn the television.

Add Your Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

×
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,804 other followers