Cheerios Refuses to Pull Commercial and Cave in To those Upset by Interracial Depiction

There’s a new Cheerios commercial featuring mother and daughter discussing their breakfast routine. Innocent enough, right? The little girl is biracial and the mother is white. No biggie.

But some precincts have been upset by the depiction and took to the Web to unleash racist remarks about the commercials.

Among the offending comments (and these are the mild ones): "this makes me want to vomit" and "[this commercial] is disgusting."

But to their credit, Cheerios and its owner, General Mills, are standing by the commercial.

This is an example of when an ad itself becomes PR. Cheerios set out to show a realistic depiction of the American family, while understanding that a small, but loud, minority would have a negative reaction.

Simply standing by the ad is good PR for the cereal brand.

Conversely, it was bad PR when Lowes pulled advertising for the reality TV show, "All-American Muslim," after a conservative group complained and called for a boycott. Stating after the fact that Lowes was "committed to diversity" only made a bad situation worse for the home improvement company.

It's unfortunate that an innocuous cereal commercial can cause so much controversy, but by refusing to pull the ad, Cheerios is saying that first, this shouldn't be a big deal and, second, we're not going to whitewash our commercial just because some people are upset by it.

Follow Lucia Davis:  @LKCDavis




About Lucia Davis

Lucia Davis is community editor for PR News. Prior to returning to NYC, she was associate editor at iMedia Connection in Culver City, CA. In addition to PR News and iMedia, Lucia's writing has appeared in minonline, "The Minetta Review," "EQUITIES Magazine," and "The Foothills Paper."

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  • Chris Pasquariello

    The mother in the commercial is not white, she’s Jewish. This is a Jew/Black relationship… not white/black. I think the commercial is great though, very sweet.

    • delainanicole

      Um, a lot of Jews consider themselves white. A lot of Hispanics also consider themselves white.

      • Chris Pasquariello

        That’s weird. If a Jew man has a child with a white (European) woman, the child is not considered Jewish. You are obviously not Jewish, hence do not know what you are talking about, yet chose to comment anyway. Why?

        According to Jewish belief, “…the
        father’s religion and whether the person practices is immaterial.
        No affirmation or upbringing is needed, as long as the mother is
        Jewish.” ~ from Jewish Virtual Library (and everywhere else where Judaism is explained). This was also, ironically, the same exact method used to determined the race of bi-racial children in America’s not-so-distant past.

        “Hispanic” is not a race. This too, you show no clue what you are talking about. Many Hispanics are the descendants of Europeans; their skin color has adapted to compensate to their climate. When you go to the beach, your skin turns darker to protect itself. When you leave the beach with your new tan, this does not make you temporarily ‘Hispanic’; just as those with a tanner skin color, are not permanently ‘Hispanic’.

        To be clear (I don’t think many Americans know this), Israel is in the Middle East; white people come from Europe. ‘Hispanics’ have more of a direct connection to Europe than Jews do. “Asiatic” is the race of people with Middle Eastern origins. To be honest, many Jews know that they are racially closer to Middle Eastern Muslims than to Europeans; but, ask yourself why you don’t know this.

      • delainanicole

        Actually, I am Jewish and I’ve been to Israel. The whole “mother has to be Jewish” thing is just as absurd as saying someone is only black if they have a black mother.

        I know hispanic isn’t a race. I brought it up for consideration, since so many Americans think if someone is hispanic that means they’re not white.

        Of course I know where jewish roots come from. But in America, the term “white” is much broader than you’re making it out to be. Go to a random synagogue in the US and ask those Jews if they’d consider themselves as “white.” They’ll mostly say yes, because they don’t fit cleanly into any of the other so-called races. And also because many of their most recent ancestors were from Poland or Austria or Russia or Italy… Israel isn’t even on the list.

        But thanks for assuming I’m an idiot and I don’t know what I’m talking about. Appreciate it.

      • Guest

        If you’re Jewish and already knew all of this, I apologize. Your original comment made you sound like an (white) American idiot.

      • Chris Pasquariello

        If you’re Jewish and already knew all of this, I apologize. Your original comment made you sound like a regular American idiot.

  • Joe Smith

    General Mills was NOT trying to make some kind of “statement” of behalf of “race relations”.

    GM knew this would cause debate and would obtain a lot of free publicity.

    There is no “bravery” associated with this commercial.

    This was a well considered, cheap, even tawdry, advertising ploy… but a
    successful one in that it got a lot of people to remember its product…

    This commercial was not designed to “induce” the remembrance of a
    product, but to “incite” the remembrance of a product.

    I don’t like this type of advertising but in my case, it worked.

    I’ll remember not to buy anything produced by General Mills.