Updated: Oct 24, 2018
A TV ad for Cheerios released a couple of weeks ago shows a multiracial family talking about the heart healthy aspects of the fabulously popular cereal. The ad sparked a rather intense flurry of comments, some really emotionally charged, and the PR world took notice because of the unique communication opportunity and challenges it posed for General Mills. (Watch “Just Checking” on the Cheerios YouTube channel).
Click this link to see the ad, and also the comments on General Mills’ site.
From an organizational or corporate standpoint, this is terrific fodder for those of us in diversity and multicultural communication. Honestly, my family didn’t even notice the racial makeup of the family in this ad until I started to see the comments and media coverage. Then I took a closer look and noticed their differences. And then I was sad. Because before, I noticed them as a family in an everyday moment in an everyday interaction – as it should be and as General Mills intended. I don’t want my daughter or myself to be a person who focuses on how different people are – and I know this is the heart of diversity dialogue and debate. I understand we need to notice differences in order to appreciate them, but there is a danger that in focusing on what makes us different, we further divide groups of people. I think the discussion needs to move beyond differences and on to similarities. We are ready for that to happen… the next generations already are there. Thank you, General Mills, for making us ultra aware of the way America really looks today.. and for making it an everyday – not unusual – experience.
Would like to hear your thoughts!