Cheerios "Just Checking," (2013) :30 (USA)

This is the ad depicting a mixed race couple with a perfectly adorable child, that apparently got on some trolls' nerves.

So much so that Cheerios had to disable the comments on its youtube page.

By the way, interracial marriage in the states wasn't made "legal" until 1967, which is insane to even write but there you go.

What's interesting to me from an advertising standpoint is just how much this exposes about our own profession. People who don't work in advertising are most likely unaware of it even if they're being influenced by it.

If you work in advertising in America, then you've most likely been in seriously retrograde conversations with clients concerning "diversity" when casting a spot.

You see, a lot of clients view potential cast members in their spot not by what is best and appropriate for the spot in terms of acting and concept, but rather by the number of boxes they can tick off on their color wheel.

I have heard insanely absurd comments by clients when it comes to this stuff. For instance: "We can't cast an Indian, he needs to be black," "He's not black enough," "He's too black," and "Can we get an Asian in the mix," and "This does not meet our standards of diversity."

These comments by the way, have come from clients in the financial service industry, automobile clients, lottery clients and more. These are the kinds of conversations one hears in advertising and keeps well hidden because they are so disgusting they make us want to quit advertising.

Whether its picking and choosing from the color wheel or keeping everything alabaster, these client-mandated "standards," are disturbing.

So I have to give it up for the Cheerios client for being so modern. And by "modern," I mean "completely normal."

Again, I say Cheerios client because whatever the agency says, they had no say so in it.

Clients have been known to approve the smallest piece of wardrobe for fuck's sake.

So good on ya Cheerios for being cool.

But if you take the hysterical non-issue out of the equation, you're left with a Cheerios spot with better casting than usual, a nice use of steady cam, and a touching moment with the dad waking up to Cheerios on his heart.

In other words, you're left with a better than predictable treacly Cheerios spot in a long line of treacly Cheerios spots.

Put it another way-- at the time of writing this, it barely has 250K views.

But considering some spots on Cheerios' youtube page are topping out at thirteen thousand, at least people tuned in to this one. And hopefully, the majority of people tuned in for the right reasons.

Client: Cheerios Agency: Saatchi NY

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Anonymous Adgrunt's picture
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fairuse's picture

I really like this commercial. I understand the "kid logic". I also know all too well the stupid stuff people say about interracial marriage - enough said.

I don't envy anyone in advertising when it comes to what clients want; not fun but there is happy hour.

Dabitch's picture

The "Kid logic" is cute, and so is that little girl. :)

TheRangedMartialArtist's picture


Everybody says there is this RACE problem. Everybody says this RACE problem will be solved when the third world pours into EVERY white country and ONLY into white countries.

The Netherlands and Belgium are just as crowded as Japan or Taiwan, but nobody says Japan or Taiwan will solve this RACE problem by bringing in millions of third worlders and quote assimilating unquote with them.

Everybody says the final solution to this RACE problem is for EVERY white country and ONLY white countries to “assimilate,” i.e., intermarry, with all those non-whites.

What if I said there was this RACE problem and this RACE problem would be solved only if hundreds of millions of non-blacks were brought into EVERY black country and ONLY into black countries?

How long would it take anyone to realize I’m not talking about a RACE problem. I am talking about the final solution to the BLACK problem?

And how long would it take any sane black man to notice this and what kind of psycho black man wouldn’t object to this?

But if I tell that obvious truth about the ongoing program of genocide against my race, the white race, Liberals and respectable conservatives agree that I am a naziwhowantstokillsixmillionjews.

They say they are anti-racist. What they are is anti-white.

Anti-racist is a code word for anti-white.

AnonymousCoward's picture

Thought it was interesting that Blockbuster Video does the exact same thing this week without any attention:

No one seems to be covering the trend...

kidsleepy's picture

Two spots does not a trend make.

Loving Day volunteer's picture

By the way, interracial marriage in the states wasn't made "legal" until 1967, which is insane to even write but there you go.

A bit more explanation of this:

Not every state in the United States had laws against interracial marriage. From 1913 to 1947, 30 states had laws against interracial marriage on their books. Subsequently, the number of states with anti-miscegenation laws continued to decline. By the time of the 1967 US Supreme Court decision Loving v Virginia, there were 16 states that still had laws against interracial marriage. As a result of the Loving decision, those laws were deemed un-Constitutional and therefore unenforceable. It took until the year 2000 before the last state in the nation to still have such laws on the books (Alabama) removed them. Now, though, interracial marriages are legal throughout the United States, thanks to Mr. & Mrs. Loving.

The anniversary of the Loving decision, June 12, is "Loving Day". Celebrations of Loving Day occur throughout the country, from the 10th annual Flagship Celebration in New York (attended by more than a thousand people every year), to a Loving Day film festival in New Orleans, and even a Loving Day luau in Cerritos, California!

Steven Riley's picture

Thanks for the piece. Actually, it would have been helpful to see the comments... and refute them one-by-one. I mention that in my piece here: "According to Our Hearts: Lessons Lost and Learned from the Cheerios Commercial Controversy":

By the way, the court case "Loving v. Virginia" DID NOT make interracial marriage legal in the states. It invalidated the anti-miscegenation laws in the 15 REMAINING states that had such statutes. TEN states, including New York and New Jersey, NEVER had any such laws.


kidsleepy's picture

Sure, I get that. This was being oversimplified a bit for brevity, and also because we're a site dedicated to advertising and not race. From that standpoint-- Cheerios' job is to sell us Cheerios. It is not their job to take on racism, and nor should it be. It's easier from a brand perspective to get the conversation started. And you know what? Shutting down the conversation when it turns from a conversation into outright hatred seems like a perfectly valid move to me.

Dabitch's picture

Yep. Cheerios is about selling cheerios, not about refuting dumb comments one by one.... That don't put breakfast on our tables.

That also explains why advertisers are wary of depicting anything other than standard Barbie&Ken - they spend more time defending that than selling their product. The spokesperson is too Greek, too Jewish, too tall, too freckled, too fat... The couple in bed don't have wedding bands (outrage!), the couple married are mixed race (outrage!) the couple married are of the same sex (outrage!)... None of this moves product. Or does it?

The most interesting part of this story is that it took Cheerios more than a week to find the "disable comments" button, and they are now aware of the greater internet fuckwad theory. Adage says the spot tested positively with everyone except over 50 guys (who hate ads with kids anyway), it's likely going to be banned in Canada for that over-promising health claim.... and I amuse myself imagining this little girl president of the united states when she grows up. She's got the health-care solution down, man. I'm joking, but with some candidates, it's pretty much Cheerios all the way down.

fairuse's picture

Lost -- cannot open file --- same as the other guy,

Dabitch's picture

What? Files works just fine.