After racist backlash, Cheerios ad draws support for interracial couples

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A recent commercial for Cheerios sparked controversy among a small but loud group because of its use of an interracial couple. (Image from the video.)

A Cheerios commercial that used a happy, interracial family to advertise the heart-healthy benefits of the breakfast cereal became the target of racist commenters online last week.

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But on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter support for interracial families and biracial children grew larger and louder.

According to AdWeek, segregationist commenters descended on the ad titled “Just Checking” on May 28 with comments referencing "Nazis, 'troglodytes' and 'racial genocide.'"

General Mills disabled the comments section on the video and says there's absolutely nothing wrong with the ad — a view endorsed by many, probably most, users of social media.

Meredith Tutterow, associate marketing director for the Cheerios, said on a General Mills blog that she was suprised to see such a negative reactioin.

“Multicultural families are everywhere, including on television, so the attention this has received from the media is somewhat surprising." Tutterow said.

In the 30-second ad, a young girl asks her mother whether Cheerios were actually heart healthy. With a smile, the mother, a white woman, reads facts from the box to assure the girl that the cereal was heart-healthy. The commercial then cuts to the father, a black man, waking up with a pile of Cheerios over his heart — a cute gesture from his daughter.

Megan Hatcher-Hays, a Jezebel contributor and child of a biracial family, said she was excited to see families like hers reflected in popular culture.

"I know it's meaningful to a lot of friends of mine who are biracial or multiracial as well," Hays said. 

Hays said she also appreciated the ad for starting a dialog about racism toward interractial families.

"The racist response to the ad has been almost welcome by me because it starts to bring to the surface some of these attitudes that we thought were dead and gone," she added.

Some took to Twitter to echo Hays' appreciation of Cheerios for their choices. 

The ad, viewed over 1.7 million times as of late Monday also had over 23,000 likes and some 1,000 dislikes.