Certainly you’ve heard of this, right? The barrage of hateful comments left under the commercial featuring a mixed race family on Cheerios’ YouTube channel. Comments so offensive that General Mills deleted and disabled them. “It’s 2013!!!” is the gist of the typical response from “normal” people on the internet. “I want to eat so many Cheerios right now,” was quite literally my response. And I got a little choked up. Not about the comment fiasco. I stopped getting choked up about youtube comments years ago, thank God, and it comes as absolutely no surprise to me that hateful voices rose from the trollers. None. So all I’m left with is this beautiful commercial, with this adorable child who makes some sincerely delightful faces depicted in a family that almost resembles mine in a way that I cannot recall having seen before. Ever. I am 36 years old. I was in commercials as a kid. I have never seen a commercial like this. That is what is shocking. That in 2013, this near-revolutionary advertising. People took note, did double takes. Heads were scratched. Fears and tempers were flared. Clearly this is long overdue. So, thank you Cheerios!! Thank you for looking at your community and your consumers and seeing what is actually in front of you. And being “bold” enough to “endorse” it. By endorsing reality, you make us face it and give us the opportunity to adjust to it. Maybe even to like it You reflect me and all the others like me who had never experienced the normalization of our lives in a television commercial. This makes for a healthier society. That makes for a healthier me.
And then there’s this! Maybe it’s not as bad as it seems after all.
Turns Out Americans Love ‘Controversial’ Cheerios Ad
Perhaps Racist YouTubers Not Representative of Country as a Whole
June 5, 2013
Last week, a new ad from Cheerios was deemed controversial when media outlets discovered that the racist contingent of the idiocracy known as the YouTube comment section trashed the ad for featuring a mixed-race couple and a biracial child.
But according to data from Ace Metrix, Americans like the ad. In fact, “Good for Your Heart” (called “Just Checking” on YouTube) tested the highest of six new Cheerios ads this year and garnered attention and likeability scores 9% and 11% “above the current 90-day norm for cereals.”
General Mills rightly decided not to be swayed by the rantings of deranged internet comments, telling USA Today that the supposed uproar would not affect future casting decisions.
According to Ace Metrix, the ad — created by Saatchi & Saatchi, New York — “appealed to all age/gender demographics with the exception of males over 50.” While that could be taken as a statement on racial attitudes, Ace Metrix noted that ads with babies tend to perform poorly with this demographic regardless of the race of the child.
The report, which surveyed over 500 consumers, went on to note: “The ad scored best with African-Americans, who collectively scored the ad a 721, followed by Asian Americans and Hispanics. While African Americans and Hispanics generally award advertising higher scores than their ethnic counterparts — the 721 score is 100 higher than average for African-Americans.”
And filtering verbatim commentary from those surveyed, those who specifically mentioned “couple” did so in a positive manner.
“I liked that the couple is mixed race,” wrote one respondent. “Good to see that on TV, but in a subtle manner.”
word cloud from Ace Metrix survey comments
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Loved your post. I don’t eat Cheerios, or any other breakfast cereal. But when I saw the commercial and heard the uproar, I ran out and box 4 or 5 boxes of Cheerios. (Fed them to the birds lol, but wanted to support Cheerios)
Both of my sons are in biracial marriages, the youngest just last weekend, and I am very proud of them both. They fell in love. They didn’t see color.
I just discovered your blog and have learned much, just reading through the last few posts.
Sorry that my comment on this is late, but…this didn’t surprise me then and it doesn’t surprise me now.
Racism and ignorance are still very much a part of life, unfortunately. I believe that the hateful comments about the commercial stemmed from the fact that not only do certain people disapprove of “mixing” but they also disapprove of it being shown on TV. It reminds them that no matter what, mixed folks aren’t going anywhere and we continue to grow in number. They would prefer it if we didn’t exist at all.
I live in South Florida and despite all the diversity here, I still encounter ignorance on a daily basis. Not to mention if I am in the company of a relative (my husband or my mother, let’s say) and people give us this look as if we have no business together. And it really isn’t like we look all that different from each other, but so what if we do? It is frustrating to be viewed as weird because to narrow-minded people, we don’t “match”. Interracial couples are nothing new. Mixed families are not strange or abnormal. It might not be all that common in some parts of the country or even the world, but when so many people seem to view interracial relationships and biracial/multiracial kids as something bad, it is clear that the problem is about racial hangups.
I don’t understand why this commercial was even a big deal in the first place. Black man, white woman, biracial child…who cares? Like I said, nothing new. Maybe it isn’t seen on TV as a “normal” family but who defines what normal is? This is why some people of mixed race struggle with issues of identity. Not because they are mixed, but because they will constantly receive hurtful messages that tell them they are weird or abnormal or don’t belong. And sometimes, if we are “allowed” to belong, this means having to pick sides and acknowledge one part of our heritage while overlooking the other.
Also, the commercial shows that yes, we mixed folks are like everybody else…sometimes we eat at the table with our families and we aren’t three-headed aliens. Some people are uncomfortable with this because they want to continue seeing us as “Other”.
That is an adorable commercial!