For its first ever Super Bowl ad, Cheerios is bringing back the interracial family that sparked both a vicious racist backlash, as well as calls of support for the cereal maker.
The original ad last May showed a biracial girl asking her white mom about the heart-health of Cheerios. Inspired by what she hears, the girl runs to her African American dad, who is napping on the couch, and pours the cereal over his chest.
The racial backlash was swift and prompted General Mills to disable the commenting function for the ad on YouTube. While comments on the commercial remain disabled, the spot has earned almost 75,000 “likes,” compared with only about 3,000 “dislikes.”
Given the controversy, why bring back the family for the biggest advertising event of the year?
“We fell in love with this family,” Camille Gibson, vice president of marketing for Cheerios told CBS MoneyWatch. “We thought the big game provided an opportunity to tell a story about family love.”
The brand had considered several other spots for its Super Bowl foray, but the performance by the little girl in the ad “was so strong, and that was really why we chose it,” she added.
The new spot, called “Gracie,” is already on YouTube and is garnering positive buzz on Twitter, with one commenter writing, “Cheerios nails it,” and another noting, “Good move.”
The new ad has Gracie learning that she’ll soon have a baby brother. She uses the moment to wrangle a puppy out her parents.