If you haven’t seen or at least read the headlines about that Cheerios commercial that’s caused such an uproar lately, then you must not have Facebook or the Internet. If you didn’t bother clicking on the story, then basically what happened was Cheerios made a commercial that featured a biracial couple and their super cute daughter. The first scene is the über cute kid asking mom something about Cheerios being good for your heart. The mom responds that it is and then the next scene shows her black father waking up from his nap on the couch with a pile of Cheerios all over his chest.
After the ad came out, half of the Internet did what they do and the comment section became a barrage of negative racist comments and abominable responses towards interracial couples.
And then the other half of the Internet does what it does best and blogged about how terrible society is.
I obviously agree with the second half of the Internet and think the world needs to start accepting all sorts of families for whatever they are…
I also think that before you start getting your pom-poms out of the closet, Cheerios carefully calculated this commercial with a handful of stereotypes and reasons of their own, none of which are breaking down barriers and trying to make the world a more accepting place.
I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating: NOTHING, absolutely nothing in advertising is accidental. They have about 30 seconds to paint a picture and get their message across, so the use of stereotypes are absolutely necessary to get their message across and get it across quickly and concisely.
First of all, a controversial commercial is VIRAL INTERNET GOLD. It’s why godaddy dot com makes all those commercials we hate because every time a blogger or better yet a news outlet says your name, good or bad that’s name recognition and when you’re trying to find a domain name on the cheap- you go there.
Controversy gets clicks. I know, as a mom blogger, if I say some crazy thing like “I hate baby formula” or “C-sections are fun” my post will get a ton of clicks and shares, and who cares if people hate me, they still clicked and commented and shared my posts and cha-ching, I just made .00001 cents off my haters- controversy does that quite nicely. (That’s why you keep seeing Mom Bloggers keep recycling these same crap stories about the same crap controversies). I didn’t even have to go to blogger school to figure that out. Cheerios has a bevy of people, I’m sure, that did go to advertising school to tell them what they know will happen if they unleash this commercial out on the gobs of Internet trolls that are ridiculously predictable. Like I said: VIRAL INTERNET GOLD. This reminds me of when J.C. Penney’s decided to use Ellen as their spokesperson. Gobs of people were outraged, but also gobs of people now LOVE J.C. Penney’s because they’re so inclusive. Their products have not changed a bit, but we feel that their company has changed because they risked that controversy and then we all said their names a billion times and replayed their commercials for free on our Facebook accounts.
Side note: how many times did I just say Cheerios in the above paragraphs? And Cheerios got that for free. Now that’s a bargain.. see what I mean? And whether you share the commercial because you’re a bigot or you share it because you’re a save-the-day-blogger, it doesn’t matter, the message that Cheerios is “heart-healthy” already just got lodged in the back of your brain.
Anyway, so let’s cut to why Cheerios picked that couple. Let me ask you who demographically speaking, is the most at-risk person for heart disease: Black Men. Okay and do you know who the one most influential person in marketing and purchasing is: White Women. (seriously they’ve done studies). They didn’t switch the roles because those stereotypes don’t make sense to us. They didn’t make it an African-American couple because black women aren’t as influential in marketing. Again, they went to advertising school to learn this. Annnnd Bingo: they just accomplished their goals: combining controversy while still adhering to traditional marketing stereotypes.
Meredith Tutterow, associate marketing director for Cheerios at General Mills in Golden Valley, Minn., said Friday:
“There are many kinds of families and Cheerios just wants to celebrate them all.”
Oh wow, how harmonious of them!
At the end of the day, I’m NOT knocking Cheerios.. I like the ad and families are all sorts of different and we should be celebrating them all.. all I’m saying is before you go out and buy a box of Cheerios because they’re so much more morally superior that the next brand, I don’t believe that Cheerios just nonchalantly pick this couple like it’s no big deal, and they certainly aren’t placing these people on this commercial because they want to start a anti-racism movement and break down color barriers. They did it with careful calculation, and it all comes down to marketing and sales. And baby, I bet this commercial just sold a whole lot of Cheerios. Someone’s getting a raise.