There will be at least one Super Bowl ad airing Sunday trying to be more meaningful than the men of Full House reuniting over yogurt or whatever idiocy GoDaddy has decided to roll out this year. For the first time ever, General Mills will be advertising for Cheerios during the game, in a commercial starring the same interracial family of actors featured in their attention-getting campaign that aired last spring.
In the new commercial, Grace Colbert returns to find out that her parents are planning on having another baby, news that she wisely uses to get something she wants in return (spoiler: it has four legs and is furry). This is a departure from the plot of the last ad – where "Gracie" learned from her father that Cheerios is a heart-healthy food – and would seem to
those with knowledge of the way advertising works skeptics to capitalize off the praise Cheerios received for featuring a biracial family in a matter-of-fact way after all the racists were banned from commenting on YouTube.
Despite admitting to the New York Times that it was the positive response to the family in the ad that encouraged them to produce another one, Cheerios wants to make it clear that they're not shilling out the mad money it costs to buy a Super Bowl spot to get more attention for Doing The Right Thing:
Mr. Smith demurred at a suggestion that Cheerios may be trying to exploit a contentious issue. "If we're milking anything," he said, "it's this delightful little actress," referring to Grace Colbert, and "a little girl's special relationship with her dad."
It doesn't hurt, however, that the last ad "tested the highest of six new Cheerios ads this year and garnered attention and likeability scores 9% and 11% 'above the current 90-day norm for cereals,'" Ad Age reported from data via Ace Metrix, a company that measures the impact of advertising.
In a video on their YouTube channel, Cheerios has also profiled the Murphy-West family as part of their Family Breakfast project, a spin-off of the Family Dinner Project, "a grass roots movement whose mission is to help families everywhere access the benefits that come from connecting over a meaningful family meal." The Murphy-Wests founded the website We Are The 15 Percent after the Cheerios commercial went viral; on the site, they feature photos of the many families in the country who are biracial. "We'd planned a family trip that weekend, and we thought it might be fun to have a film crew tag along," the Murphy-West's wrote on their site. "We figured it would be a great way to speak widely about the 15%, and hopefully reach more families who'd want to participate."
They think the new Cheerios commercial is great too:
For us, and this project, it's satisfying to see the story continue, because it renews a visible commitment to families like ours. Like yours! And without that first commercial, We Are the 15% would have never happened — how would we have spent the last 8 months? ; )
The fact that Cheerios is smart enough to realize that they made money from doing a normal thing isn't something they should shy away from admitting. Advertising campaigns are often so hackneyed and uncreative that when a company does something right (whether accidentally on purpose), they should try to repeat or build from it. Corporations are always going to follow the money. But when the money goes in the right direction, it's win-win for everyone.