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Cheerios Gets Real
By: Janet Kalandranis
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It’s a legacy brand, one that’s grown with the ages and has enjoyed its fair share of success. And the brand’s more recent campaign is one where real families, real modern-day families, highlight the benefits of Cheerios and the smiles it still creates. It’s one of those campaigns that makes you smile, chuckle a little, and just remember the simple things. And it talks to parents as well as kids, with nothing but positive oozing from every second of its commercials. Except nothing is that easy and apparently Cheerios has crossed the line. A line that the brand didn’t know still existed and is creating a bad taste in everyone’s mouth. So Cheerios fought back. With what? Honesty from a group of kids of course. And it’s decided that the brand won alongside the kids.

Cheerios is an honest brand, one that has grown with each trend and stayed true to its core concept. A very simple cereal that just works. It tastes good, it’s heart-healthy, and it brings families together. Any family. So Cheerios created spots that mirrored real families; families that have kids and parents. The commercials were made and outrage occurred, because there is a spot with a family that includes a mixed-race couple. Apparently people don’t like that. YouTube comments forced the social media platform to take down the video because it was out of control. This is a Cheerios commercial with a focus on the product, nothing else.

So Cheerios took a stand, and instead of stating what they thought, the brand decided it would be more relevant to ask kids what they were thinking. There were all confused. Why was the commercial bad? Why were people making mean comments about it? Why were people still not accepting others for who they are instead of the color of their skin? These kids took what Cheerios was feeling and laid out a message that no one could have scripted as well. It’s honest, it’s truthful, and it’s exactly what Cheerios stands for. The brand isn’t going to preach to something it knows is right, but instead is going to let one of its target audiences do the talking. Sure, the brand could have ignored the whole incident, but that’s not what Cheerios does. This brand stands for families — all families — and it wasn’t willing to let someone else destroy the message.

All brands will have a time when they are expected to take a stand. One side versus the other, right from wrong. Some brands choose to be quiet; others choose to speak. But what’s great about Cheerios' decision was the way it delivered the message. It’s authentic, it’s relatable, and it does nothing but support the brand in what it knows is right. So choose to speak when the opportunity arises, but make sure the delivery of the message is considered. That could make all the difference.

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About the Author
Janet Kalandranis is here to give you all the little brand thoughts that run through her head with a little dash of spice. Find her online here.
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