Not sure I entirely get it, but apparently Cheerios angered large numbers of people still living in the 50s, as one of the children we’ll talk about today notes, by using a multi-racial couple in an advertisement.
Race — though no one needed the George Zimmerman verdict to remind us — is a crisis in this country and has been for 200 years. There are fewer raw sensitivities and difference in perceived goods and bads than when race divides us. There’s little gray in black and white.
But as some product advertisements featured gay actors, or single parents, the current Cheerios ad reflects a growing trend and, dare we say, market in America. It has a white mom and a black dad and their [adorable] daughter. It’s a touching theme about health and love. And, honestly, it should not have created any sort of a crisis for Cheerios. But it did.
Enter the Fine Brothers, who created a video talking to children from four to 11 about their perception of the ad. The kids teach us much and it’s a valuable lesson as well for a company in crisis. Use the truth, use facts to fight back. While it would have seemed self-serving if Cheerios had created this video, it might have been a smart move for it to do so. [And thanks to my EMA colleague Allie Friedman for sharing it.]
The Daily Dot says the Fine Brothers, Benny and Rafi, are responsible for the Emmy Award-winning React series, a set of nonfiction Web shows in which they depict a particular group of people on several trending videos and film their immediate reaction. Quizzing kids, teens, elders, and fellow YouTubers, the two capture a rare glimpse into viral videos through the eyes of others. It’s candid, enlightening, and often not what you would expect.
And in so doing, they puncture the anger some people generated about the Cheerio ad’s casting concept.
Said one of the children: “It’s just the color of their skin, what matters is if they’re nice or mean.”
“I thought Martin Luther King spoke against this and fixed this already.”
The content of this blog is about crisis management and mismanagement in a digital age. It originates with Steve Bell, who spent 30 years as a journalist for the Associated Press and in four top editor positions at The Buffalo News. He is now Partner/Director of Public Affairs at Eric Mower + Associates, one of the nation’s largest independent advertising, integrated marketing and public relations agencies, with seven offices in the Northeast and Southeast. Learn more about EMA at http://www.mower.com. Steve’s blog is based on his own opinions and does not represent the views or positions of Eric Mower + Associates.