When Cheerios featured a mixed-race family in their 2013 advert, they were not expecting the negative backlash they would receive. But when droves of Americans spoke out in support of the commercial, they decided to continue the narrative.
The first ad showed a white mother teaching her biracial daughter about Cheerios and their ability to promote heart health. In an adorable and well-intentioned gesture, the little girl then dumps a box of the cereal on her African-American father’s chest while he naps. When the ad hit YouTube, some of the negative responses were so mortifying that the company had to disable the comments.
“Ultimately, we were trying to portray an American family. And there are lots of multicultural families in America today,” Camille Gibson, VP of Marketing for General Mills told TODAY. In fact, people who identify as multiracial are the fastest growing segment of the United States population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Specifically, the number of biracial Americans with Black and white parents increased by 134 percent from 2000 to 2010. A National Geographic editorial suggested that in years to come, the average American will belong to more than one racial group.
Millions of viewers heralded the Cheerios ad for showing how diverse and yet relatable families can be. As a nod to their fans (and also as a gesture to their detractors), Cheerios’ upcoming Super Bowl spot features the same family, this time experiencing an exciting transition. The father slides Cheerios across the table to explain to his daughter, Gracie, that she’ll soon have a baby brother, as her pregnant mother looks on from the kitchen. While at first puzzled by the news, she then adds another piece of cereal to the pile, and says, “And a puppy.”
Watch the ad below.