NEW YORK - Cheerios is bringing back an interracial family to star in its Super Bowl ad.
They were featured in an ad last year that made headlines after it sparked ugly comments online. But the negative remarks were followed by an outpouring of support for the fictional family made up of a black dad, white mom and their young daughter.
General Mills, which owns Cheerios, said at the time that it cast the actors to reflect the changing U.S. population. The Minneapolis-based company continued running the ad for several months as planned.
In the weeks after the ad made headlines, CEO Ken Powell noted in an earnings call that Cheerios' sales performance was benefiting from new advertising, although he didn't specifically cite an ad or the controversy for the improvement. General Mills, which also makes Lucky Charms, Kix, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, has been struggling to boost sluggish cereal sales in recent years as Americans increasingly reach for other options in the morning.
In the new Cheerios spot set to debut during the Super Bowl, the father uses individual Cheerios to represent each member of the family, explaining to his young daughter that, "Pretty soon, you're going to have a baby brother."
The girl looks dismayed at first, but then smiles and adds another Cheerio to the little pile.
"And, a puppy," she negotiates. Her father says it's a deal. The ad closes with a shot of the mom, watching from the side, looking alarmed at that development.
A 30-second spot during the Super Bowl costs around $4 million this year. A spokesman for General Mills said the ad is set to air during the first unscheduled time out during the game Sunday.