Sorry, knuckle draggers. If you couldn't handle the sight of a—gasp—interracial family in last year's famous Cheerios commercial, here's some bad news. You'll have to sit through a sequel during the Super Bowl.
The General Mills brand on Wednesday unveiled its 2014 Super Bowl spot from Saatchi & Saatchi in New York. And yes, that's the family from "Just Checking," the ad from last May that made headlines when General Mills shut down the comments section on the YouTube version because of racist vitriol. That earlier ad turned out to be a major win for the brand, however, as people everywhere jumped to its defense—and the view count on YouTube jumped to nearly 5 million.
The Super Bowl spot, like its predecessor, runs a quietly moving 30 seconds, and even starts off with a clever, knowing nod to the earlier controversy. "Gracie, you know how our family has Daddy and Mommy…" the father says, pushing two Cheerios into the middle of a breakfast table. "And me," Gracie says, adding a third. "Yeah, that's right," Dad says.
At this point, those who know about the earlier controversy might expect, in the sequel, some family talk about being "different." Perhaps the girl has been hearing things at school about her parents, or getting questions from friends. But in fact—wonderfully—it's nothing of the sort. Dad is bringing up a whole different kind of family talk, and it couldn't be more common to families everywhere. It's pure Cheerios—a quiet, simple, real moment, and one ends nicely, too, with a priceless look on the mom's face.
It's hard to imagine Cheerios handling a sequel any more deftly than this. It obliquely references the earlier controversy, but by embracing a simpler story that has nothing to do with it, it suggests the controversy was dumb to begin with—that this is just America now, and families like this are just like everyone else, with better things to worry about.
Plus, of course, the very decision to devote an expensive buy on the Super Bowl to this spot—it's Cheerios' first appearance ever on the game, and only General Mills's second, following a Wheaties ad in 1996—is a nice rebuke to any detractors, and a proud moment for everyone else.
Client: Cheerios/General Mills
Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi, New York
Director: Matt Smukler
Production Company: Community Films