Gay Dads' Touching Adoption Story Is a Way to Sell You Cheerios

It’s emotionally manipulative marketing, sure, but damn if it isn’t effective.

André and Jonathan’s tale is no doubt a sweet one. They met on a blind date and it was love at first sight. They both wanted to be dads, but — because they’re gay — neither thought it was possible. Still, they decided to try by reaching out to an adoption agency.

“We couldn’t keep all this luck and love for ourselves,” André says. “We needed to share.”

One day, the agency contacted them to say they had found André and Jonathan a little girl. Next thing they knew, they were parents to an infant named Raphaëlle and they couldn’t have been happier.

“I [didn’t] have confidence in myself for all my life,” Jonathan tells us. “But for this, I know: We are good parents.”

The family’s story comes to us courtesy of “The Cheerios Effect,” a new campaign from the cereal company that broadcasts inspirational love stories with the tagline “Just like two Os in a bowl, we all love to connect.”

The Cheerios Effect commercials are all moving, but they’re still commercials. Commercials meant to sell you a product. It’s an advertising tactic similar to the Dove campaign that seeks to remind all women that they’re beautiful —- and also to buy Dove products, only (to their credit) Cheerios is a little less cloying about it.

Without a doubt, it’s good to have a diverse range of families represented on TV and this is an area where Cheerios has excelled before. The company got ridiculous flack for depicting an interracial family in a commercial in 2013 and then, as a “fuck you” to bigots, brought back the same family for a commercial during the 2014 Super Bowl.

Seeing diverse families in advertisements is inarguably beneficial. A child could grow up in the most racist or homophobic household ever, but, if they watch TV and see gay people, people of different races and people of different body types represented while doing normal things like cleaning or making breakfast, there’s at least a fighting chance that that child will — subconsciously — think of the people in the ads as normal, too.

But like with the Dove commercials, “The Cheerios Effect” has stumbled beyond the lines of diverse representation and well into pandering territory. The André and Jonathan ad is not meant to change anyone’s world view, but rather to appeal to people who already agree with the cause and remind them that, hey, while we’re celebrating the worthy cause of two parents in love who finally got to adopt a baby, we should probably buy some cereal, too.

It’s hard to complain about an ad when it has a baby as cute as Raphaëlle in it, but what can I say? I like my marketing like I like my whiskey: clearly labeled and served straight up.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Share Tweet Submit Pin