Cheerios ad features interracial couple, sparks YouTube clash - KMSP-TV

Cheerios ad sparks YouTube clash

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GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. (KMSP) -

A 30-second Cheerios commercial shows a mom and daughter having a conversation over breakfast.

"Mom, dad told me Cheerios is good for your heart, is that true?" the daughter asks.

Cheerios has some whole grain oats that can remove cholesterol and that's heart healthy.

After she's told Cheerios are ‘heart healthy,' she dumps the cereal on her dad's chest while he's asleep.

Why the controversy? It really isn't about the commercial; it's about some of the overtly racial and negative comments left this week on the Cheerios YouTube page featuring this ad. And if you haven't noticed by now, the family is interracial.

Golden Valley-based General Mills, the parent company of Cheerios, eventually disabled the comments section. However, others have already downloaded the commercial on to their YouTube accounts, and the disparaging comments continue to be posted.  

"This is the stupid side of the Internet," crisis management consultant Jon Austin said.

Austin says General Mills responded in the right way and advises all companies to monitor their social media interaction so their brands are not tarnished.     

"In some ways, there's an opportunity within this because people are paying a little more attention than they would be," Austin said.

According to the Pew research center, there are close to 5 million interracial marriages in the U.S. -- that's about 1 in 12 -- and that statistic is expected to rise. Austin says many companies are trying to capitalize on this. 

"General Mills is reflecting their audience, their buyers and their consumers, and that's what they should be doing," Austin said.

While some will never accept the changing faces and relationships in America, Danny Pearson and Tori Smith say they aren't surprised about the online comments, but won't let the hurtful words affect them, either.

"Love is in the eyes of the beholder," Pearson told FOX 9 News. "Don't judge something that you don't know what is and what you have never experienced."

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