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Good for the Heart: Saatchi & Saatchi, Cheerios and the Evolving American Family

Advertising often reflects the buzz of current societal and cultural trends—capturing who we are in today’s ever changing world. We might universally accept this as true, but when that mirror does find its way to our television screens, it can be either a source of affirmation or (however inexplicably to some) controversy. Such was the case with the Cheerios commercial created by Saatchi & Saatchi and first aired during the Super Bowl in 2013.

In it, a biracial little girl asks her white mother if Cheerios are good for hearts before dumping a batch on her napping black father’s chest with an adorable flourish of kid logic. Despite this dynamic being representative of tens of thousands of American families, the ad ignited the ire of the less progressive minded among us. There was such an onslaught of offensive commentary that General Mills, the maker of Cheerios, disabled the comments section on the YouTube video of the commercial.

At Cheerios, we know there are many kinds of families, and we celebrate them all.

– Camille Gibson, VP Marketing, Cheerios

The heart-healthy cereal brand stood by their choice, refusing to pull the ad, and even releasing a follow-up shortly after extending the scene. The fact is, America is changing, and more and more (though some would argue, not enough) brands are showing representations of culturally diverse families in their ads.