Cheerios is bringing more to the table than just cereal at this year’s Super Bowl. For the first time in Cheerios history, and only the second time in General Mills history, the company is airing a commercial during the big game — and it’s already one of the buzziest ads of the weekend. The 30-second spot, titled simply “Gracie,” is a sequel to the breakfast brand’s controversial 2013 ad “Just Checking,” which featured an interracial couple and their young child.
“Gracie” features the same family — a black father, white mother, and biracial daughter — sharing a sweetly ordinary moment around the kitchen table. This time, the father is using Cheerios to explain to his little girl that she’s getting a baby brother. It’s a touching scene, with a cutely humorous ending, and though it doesn’t address the previous controversy directly, it makes a big statement.
As some likely remember, the original ad last May made headlines when some YouTube users flooded the comments section with offensive, bigoted remarks about Cheerios’ use of an interracial couple. The vitriol was so rampant at the time that the company was forced to disable commenting on the clip.
“The comments that were made were, in our view, not family friendly,” Camille Gibson, vice president of marketing, explained on the Today show at the time. “We were trying to portray an American family. And there are lots of multicultural families in America today.”
In the end, the controversy turned out to be a good thing for the brand. The ad racked up nearly 5 million views on YouTube, and though there were certainly still haters, they were ultimately outnumbered by people applauding Cheerios for acknowledging and celebrating diversity.
“Like millions of Americans, we just fell in love with this family,” Gibson told the New York Times this week. “The big game provided another opportunity to tell another story about family love.”
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