Many of us who spend time on the internet are aware that when you post content, it is impossible to please everyone. No doubt General Mills’ advertising team was aware of this when they began posting on the Cheerios YouTube page, but they were not prepared for the offensiveness of the backlash they would receive for one of their videos. Even in 2013, with a biracial president, there were negative responses to an interracial Cheerios Ad posted on YouTube.
The video in question was uploaded on May 28th and has received over a million views and is a mere 31 seconds long. It features a cute little girl asking her mother whether or not Cheerios really are good for your heart. Her mother says that they are and the little girl runs off with the box. The scene cuts to the father taking a nap on the couch waking up to find he is covered in Cheerios, especially over his heart (we assume that his daughter put them there). The commercial is not groundbreaking in it’s content, but is cute and gets the Cheerios message out there. The thing that has offended some anonymous YouTube users is that the mother is white and the father is black.
Many people left disturbing and racist messages in the comments section of the YouTube page because of the depiction of an interracial couple. It will surprise no one who has used YouTube that something like this happened, many people avoid the comments section of videos for that exact reason, but General Mills made the decision to disable comments for the video. Camille Gibson, General Mills Vice President for Marketing, made a statement explaining saying that “The comments that were made in our view were not family-friendly” and that is why they were removed.
However, General Mills refuses to take down the video itself. Gibson said that “Consumers have responded positively to our new Cheerios ad. At Cheerios, we know there are many kinds of families, and we celebrate them all,” showing that General Mills will not back down because of a few negative responses from racist YouTube users.
It seems like a shame that after our country has come so far in the aspect of racial relations that things like this still happen. However, there will always be people who are behind the times and who will disapprove of other people, no matter how illogical that disapproval is. Perhaps there is something good to be gained from situations like this one. The fact that reporters feel the need to write about and publish this story because of how unbelievable it is really reflects how far we’ve come. Racism has become such a taboo in American popular culture that to hear of someone actively participating in racism is absurd and newsworthy. Although it may seem like these comments just prove that racism is still around, I think that it shows how much the common person’s attitude about it has changed.
Tell us what you think about the commercial below.