The General Mills creation of a new Cheerios ad featuring a multiracial family has shockingly received negative reactions on YouTube, including references to Nazis, and even “racial genocide,” according to AdWeek.
The deeply offensive racist comments forced General Mills to disable the commenting feature on YouTube.
“The comments that were made were, in our view, not family friendly, and that was really the trigger for us to pull them off,” Camille Gibson, vice president of marketing for Cheerios, told The Today Show.
”Ultimately we were trying to portray an American family. And there are lots of multicultural families in America today.”
The ad shows a white mother talking with her multiracial daughter about the heart healthy benefits of Cheerios. It ends with the daughter pouring Cheerios on her Africam American father’s chest while he’s snoozing on the couch. The closing shot of the ad displays the word “Love.”
Make no mistake, General Mills’ motive for the ad is anything but a philanthropic attempt to bridge the lingering racial divide that still exists in this country.
On the contrary, advertisers acknowledge General Mills is targeting an area of financial gain from a growth market that currently consists of 5 million interracial couples.
“Nearly 5 million people in the U.S. are in an interracial relationship, and it’s all trending toward that growth, so it’s not out of line at all,” said Tim Brown, a partner in an advertising agency.
Brown points out that the ad was intentionally designed to spark controversy. “Are we talking about any other cereal brands right now? We’re talking about Cheerios. That’s the news. That’s top of mind,” Brown said.
“What is the objective? The other thing is to follow the money,” Brown said. “What are they trying to do? Cheerios is trying to sell boxes of Cheerios.”
General Mills is only now just beginning to recover from the commodity inflation (food and packaging) that began several years ago which forced them to raise prices. As a result, to save money, many consumers opted for generic cereal brands.
The Cheerios Facebook page has been bombarded with positive comments and has more than a million page “Likes” since the story over the ad broke.
Some people commented that the commercial was “disgusting” and “makes me want to vomit.”
“I think it shows, unfortunately, the stupidity of America,” Brown said.
However, one comment reads: “Just goes to show, corporate America can take a moral stand and make money too. Next we want to see two dads!”
The original video on YouTube has way over 2 million page views.