The Golden Globes‘ purpose is to celebrate artists who succeed in making audiences feel something. During one of the awards show’s commercial breaks, Cheerios, with its “Nana” ad, also tried to make people feel things; but unless those things were intended to be anger, disgust and disillusionment, the spot failed. Miserably.
Cheerios commercials have been subtly pulling at heartstrings quite deftly for a long time, and have even been praised for their progressive presentations of modern families. But this time, it seems, the attempt to awaken nostalgia, love, and a sense of family, awakened viewers’ bullshit meters and gag reflexes instead.
Interestingly, the ad is six months old, so why the outrage now? Maybe it was the context — people were in a humorous, celebratory mood while watching the Golden Globes, and they didn’t want to be brought down? Or perhaps it was as simple as the huge viewership — so many people saw (and were annoyed by) the ad at the same time that what might otherwise have been a trickle effect of here-and-there tweets became a tidal wave.
But whatever the reason, people really, really hated it. We mean really. Here’s just a modest sampling of some of the tweets lobbed angrily in the ad’s direction:
Cheerios–reanimating dead grandparents for 83 years.
— tad friend (@tadfriend) January 13, 2014
Perhaps I’m unfeeling but that mawkish “breakfast w Nana” ad from Cheerios should be taken off the air and flogged #GoldenGlobesAds
— Brian Steinberg (@bristei) January 13, 2014
WHY IS THIS CHEERIOS AD ABOUT BREAKFAST WITH DEAD GRANDMOTHERS TRYING TO BRING ME DOWN? #GoldenGlobesAds
— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) January 13, 2014
— Julia Bensfield Luce (@Juliabirrd) January 13, 2014
Congratulations to that Cheerios commercial for being the most manipulative and calculated thing I’ve seen all night. #GoldenGlobes
— Matt Pruett (@matthasarms) January 13, 2014
We get the message the ad was trying to send — Cheerios for breakfast is a tradition; it’s a reliable constant that does not change or age or leave us, and as such, it can be a through-line to those moments and people that have been lost.
But seriously, it’s CEREAL. Let’s not get carried away.