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“Just Checking”: a Biracial Controversy

Located in Minneapolis, Minnesota, General Mills is one of the world’s largest and most successful food companies. In the 1960s, they were marketing childrens toys such as Play-Doh, Monopoly, and Nerf balls, and were associated with fictional characters like Betty Crocker, Rocky and Bullwinkle, and the Pillsbury Doughboy. Today, their main focus is on food and “Making lives around the world healthier, easier and richer.”

One of General Mills’ cereal brands, Cheerios, has taken some criticism for a fictional family they created for their commercials. The commercial takes place in the home of a family with a white mother, an African-American father, and a “mixed” daughter. The commercial starts with the daughter and mother  sitting at a table talking about how Cheerios can keep your heart healthy. After the mother tells the daughter that Cheerios are “heart healthy”, the daughter grabs the box of cereal, gives the mom a small smile, and walks into the other room. In the next scene, the father wakes up with Cheerios all over the left side of his chest and the commercial ends. Even though Cheerios has received some negative comments on the commercial,the majority of feedback received was positive and commended Cheerios for embracing and portraying the diversity of our country.

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