Bill de Blasio’s Family Makes Its Own Cheerios Commercial

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and his family eating Cheerios.

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and his family eating Cheerios.

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio’s campaign is weighing in on the controversy surrounding a new Cheerios commercial, sending out an new email to supporters seeking volunteers that celebrates the cereal.

The email contained a slick photo of Mr. de Blasio’s multi-racial family, sitting around the breakfast table, spoons in hand, after Cheerios came under fire for depicting a similar-looking family.

Cheerios’s spot featured a little girl asking her mother, played by a white actress, whether the cereal is actually good for his heart. She then walks away mischievously, clutching a box. The ad cuts to her father, played by a black actor, waking up from a nap to find a pile of Cheerios dumped on his chest.

Despite its general cuteness, the ad’s depiction of a bi-racial family generated a torrent of hateful comments online. The outpouring was so offensive that the comments section on its YouTube posting was disabled.

In the email, Mr. de Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray, who is black, said she was deeply moved  by the ad–and Cheerios decision to stand by it.

“As an interracial couple, we sometimes felt conspicuous — which was painful. If you’re in love with someone, you’re in love with someone,” she said of her marriage to Mr. de Blasio, who is white.

She added, “19 years of marriage and two children later, this is the first TV commercial I have ever seen with a family that looks a little bit like ours. And it’s a big deal that despite some nasty criticism, Cheerios — a staple on American breakfast tables, spanning generations and cross-cutting just about every social boundary — produced the ad and stuck by it.”

Ms. McCray then pivoted to her husband’s campaign.

“Cheerios is recognizing the changing face of America, and celebrating that our differences make us stronger,” she said. “That’s what Bill is doing by fighting for every New Yorker — in every part of our city. Times are changing and we support the people who are changing with us.”

As per Mr. de Blasio’s campaign, the family really does eat Cheerios, and the box in the photo was already in their house, in the midst of being eaten, when they decided to respond to the ad.

Here’s the full text of the letter:

“Have you seen the new Cheerios ad, Jill?

It features an interracial family that’s upset a few folks on the Internet and rallied the rest of us to Cheerios’ defense.

The ad struck a chord with me, and I wanted to tell you why.

This may surprise you, but Bill’s age concerned me more than the color of his skin (he’s six years younger!). But I knew our age difference wasn’t the cause of stares on the subway, or why our families were so surprised when we brought each other home.

As an interracial couple, we sometimes felt conspicuous — which was painful. If you’re in love with someone, you’re in love with someone.

But Bill and I believed it would get better over time, and we hoped for our kids it would be easier.

That’s why the Cheerios ad is so refreshing.

19 years of marriage and two children later, this is the first TV commercial I have ever seen with a family that looks a little bit like ours. And it’s a big deal that despite some nasty criticism, Cheerios — a staple on American breakfast tables, spanning generations and cross-cutting just about every social boundary — produced the ad and stuck by it.

Bill, Chiara, Dante, and I are different parts (the kids would emphasize the “different”!) who make a whole.

Cheerios is recognizing the changing face of America, and celebrating that our differences make us stronger.

That’s what Bill is doing by fighting for every New Yorker — in every part of our city. Times are changing and we support the people who are changing with us.

Stand with us if that’s you:

http://billdeblasio.com/together

- Chirlane”