Last April, we penned an entry which spoke of the wonder of Cheerios.
In our estimation, it has been the perfect cereal since birth, a spectacle of simplicity combining a healthy, any-time-of-day food option with surprising versatility for enjoyment beyond basic sustenance.
Our many tastes change with age – clothing, books, TV, music, movies – but not Cheerios. We’ve enjoyed it our entire lives, from birth to old age, and there aren’t many cereals or even entertainment options which can claim that.
Cheerios has securely been part of our lives. We love it. It loves us. Its round shape is practical, if not symbolic, a reminder of our eternal and endless love, which like a circle has no beginning and no end.
But then, like a marketing executive suddenly turned to the Jif Side of the Force, we noticed a bizarre, Kix-like web page that made us think otherwise.
It was as if Cheerios instantly soured to everyone – moms and dads, young and old, large and small – by showing favoritism to one and ignoring the other, trying to tear apart so many of us that shared this common, charming cereal bond.
That’s when we wrote about this marketing aberration which made us so confused and angry.
You may recall that at that time, Cheerios was actually getting a lot of praise for its dad-loving TV commercial, which may have been the reason its web-based dad exclusion flew under the radar.
We tried communicating with General Mills several times, but to no avail.
Fast forward to today, some nine months later, when we occasionally like to check up on our topics, and we were pleasantly surprised to discover that web graphic no longer exists at cheerios.com.
Eager to know more about the change, we reached out elsewhere, this time with the excellent Kirstie Foster, public relations and social media director at General Mills.
Through Foster’s mediation, Cheerios responded with the following:
Hi there! We’ve always thought the world of dads. Many factors led us to the decision that it was finally time to show it.
How about that? No, it wasn’t a direct shout out to dadmarketing, but we like to think we had a hand in the change.
We may be a small, upstart organization, but our influence and message shouldn’t be understated. Dads have been left out of the marketing messages too long, too often. Cheerios no doubt recognized that, and we’re proud of those involved with the change at General Mills.
Think about Jif’s “Choosy Moms Choose Jif.” How sexist and old fashioned is that?
Cheerios changed for the better, so why can’t Jif? Why can’t others?
We’ll keep beating the drum until others reach Cheerios status, and maybe together – through sharing, talking and communicating – we’ll help more of them become products we can stick with for a lifetime.