A new ad for Cheerios, developed by Saatchi & Saatchi New York, features an interracial family talking about the benefits of the cereal for heart health. It ends on a little girl emptying a box of Cheerios on her father’s chest as he naps.
However, the ad sparked a plethora of racist comments on YouTube, with numerous references to Nazis, ‘troglodytes’ and racial genocide’ and many saying the found the ad ‘disgusting’.
The torrent of abuse forced YouTube to shut down the video's comment board, however it soon spilled over onto Reddit as a debate erupted about the accuracy or likelihood of the mixed-race family being made up of a black man and a white woman rather than a black woman and white man.
The vice president of marketing for Cheerios released a statement defending the ad after the backlash.
Camille Gidson said: “Consumers have responded positively to our new Cheerios ad. At Cheerios, we know there are many kinds of families and we celebrate them all.”
Similarly, Business Insider's Judith Grey criticised the "idiots on the internet" and said: "It's 2013, but apparently some parts of America are still not ready to see miscegenation when it comes to cereal."