blogitto ergo sum

August 26, 2013

#214 – Cheers to Cheerios’ “I HEART DADDY”

Cheerios promotes love. Interracial families included.

I’m not a Cheerios lover. And yet I now have a feel-good warm fuzzy spot for the cereal, independent of its nutritious or hearty value.  In a recent post, Adotas attributes it to the newsworthiness of the ad that I enjoyed so much, and the controversy that followed.

First, the ad:

I’ve seen it a couple of times on TV, and wide-smiled at the kid’s solid logic.  Then, a couple of weeks later, I saw this:

This mind opener, with 6,206,847 viewings and 118,401 thumbs up at writing time, asserts, loud and clear, that the generation growing up in a house near me is freer of prejudice and racist predispositions like never before.

I doubt that this was Cheerios’ intent upon launching the ad.  After all, they are about selling cereals.  And yet… This is the first Cheerios ad ever going truly viral, carrying the brand’s name above and beyond the 103K which was its highest ad true reach to date.  All it took is a cute girl that cares about her father’s heart to reach to over 14.4 Million viewers.  And a pair of interracial parents.

Newsworthiness they say.  The noise that this ad generated is a testimony to its newsworthiness.  Cheerios however, didn’t think of the ad as newsworthy.  It came with the controversy that the ad generated.  Controversy, I must say, that I was completely blind to, until the blogosphere came in and knocked hard at my monitor.

Kudos to General Mills for choosing to stand behind the ad and continuing its broadcast.  Their handling of the racist comments was professional and minimal – they turned off the comments option on YouTube.

Making things even better for General Mills, the decision to stand its ground re the definition of the American normal family, and  keeping the ad, had another amazing side effect.  Listen to Cynthia Liu, who blogs about race, culture, gender and parenting.  “This is a tempest in a cereal bowl, right?” Liu said.  In fact, she posits that Cheerios’ move could even be an “upside-down, inside-out” way to dog-whistle to open-minded parents who otherwise might not buy the cereal. [source]

Lowes’ December 2011 decision to pull out their advertising in the TLC All-American Muslim reality show comes to mind.  Confronted with rage against anything that positions Muslims as anything but terrorist, they quickly caved.  the customer rage they were so concerned with, it turned out, came mostly from one loud guy.  The show, sadly, was canceled after one season.

General Mills/Cheerios, bless their brand and marketing wisdom, is standing strong and winning.  They won me.

Being bold, smart, creative, and… create newsworthy ads, the vibe and spread, and go viral.

As for the American family, it is changing.  On one hand, there are TV shows such as Modern Family which had been criticized for placing women in traditional helpless gender roles, a not touchy enough gay couple, and a heavy usage of modern technology while making it past its 100’s episode, or the new normal, with an extra conservative mother dominant mother, a baby mama surrogate mother and a powerful black assistant, which was canceled after short seven months, possibly for being too gay… but how many successful interracial families do we see on our not-so-small anymore screens.

And yet, in the 2010 census, which is the latest available, one can find some US interracial family statistics to happily keep on mind [Source: http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/2010_census/cb12-68.html]:

Number of Interracial & Interethnic Married Couples Grew by 28 Percent over Decade

The U.S. Census Bureau Census brief, Households and Families: 2010 showed interracial or interethnic opposite-sex married couple households grew by 28 percent over the decade from 7 percent in 2000 to 10 percent in 2010. States with higher percentages of couples of a different race or Hispanic origin in 2010 were primarily located in the western and southwestern parts of the United States, along with Hawaii and Alaska.  I hear California.

Also noted is that a higher percentage of unmarried partners were interracial or interethnic than married couples. Nationally, 10 percent of opposite-sex married couples had partners of a different race or Hispanic origin, compared with 18 percent of opposite-sex unmarried partners and 21 percent of same-sex unmarried partners.

Equality and open-mindedness will prevail.  Cheers.

Christopher Colbert, the father of Grace Colbert, was not offended by the cutting remarks which bombarded the YouTube clip of the ad. Colbert, along with his wife and daughter, spoke to MSNBC TV: “Being part of a biracial family, it’s just the reality,” Christoper Colbert said. “We’re also part of the face of America.”

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