Kudos to Cheerios for bravely taking a step into the new multiculturalism that already shapes America’s population, but is rarely portrayed in media.
In less than 72 hours, Cheerios’ “Just Checking” commercial racked up 300,000 views on their YouTube channel (now close to 3 Million) and pulled the sheets off of America’s closeted, racist underbelly. Following suit of the other spots in the campaign, “Just Checking” innocently features a child interacting with her parents. The pot-stirring difference appears to be the ethnicities of the multiracial daughter, Anglo-(looking) mom and African American(-looking) dad. So stirred was this pot of discrimination, so visceral the comments left by trolls, that Cheerios decided to disable its comments on this video, proving that with progress does not often come without resistance.
Gawker.com has continued the dialogue on their message boards, where you can read (or chime in) on both sides of this heated and storied debate. Even Ad Age wrote a post on the breakfast cereal that was socially shared more than 600 times within hours of its posting.
Our own Shaherra Rolen commented that for the first time in recent memory, she saw a commercial image that resembled her own multi-racial family. She stated:
It’s great to finally see a commercial that is relatable to me, a wholesome family that just happens to be multiethnic. Growing up I didn’t see a lot of mixed people fully represented on television. Even now, the family structure is still shown as two parents of the same ethnicity. I’m so glad to have had my bowl of Cheerios this morning and will do more to support General Mills products.
In your opinion, do you think Cheerios and General Mills took a brave step into the new multiculturalism, or did they try too hard? And how do you think this will affect the casting of future American TV spots?
Justin J. Jordan