Advertising Age reported on General Mills re-editing a Canadian Cheerios commercial featuring the World’s Most Hated Dad and running the shit in U.S. markets. The scenario underscores the industry’s messed-up state of affairs, where clients use multiple White advertising agencies to produce divergent messaging that ultimately dilutes the brand image. Cheerios now goes from an interracial family featuring a Black dad to gay dads to a douche dad. The latest regurgitated commercial also underscores how digital advertising agencies—in this case, Tribal Worldwide from Toronto—have no business executing videos. Finally, it all underscores the danger in believing concepts can translate between countries and/or one global idea can work across the planet. Then again, one could argue “How To Dad” sucks in every civilized society in the universe.
Tale of Two Ads: Cheerios ‘How To Dad’ Campaign Makes U.S. Debut
General Mills Transplants Canadian Commercial to States—With One Key Difference
By E.J. Schultz
The Cheerios “How To Dad” has migrated south to the U.S. after appearing in Canadian ads all year.
The U.S. version of the spot is nearly identical to the version running in our neighbor to the north, which is a refreshingly modern take on dadhood. The only change is that the U.S. spot plugs Honey Nut Cheerios, while the Canadian ad is for Peanut Butter Cheerios. Rather than reshooting the spot, it appears that brand owner General Mills simply airbrushed in Honey Nut Cheerios boxes.
Judge for yourself. Below is the U.S. ad followed by the Canadian version. General Mills did not immediately return an email for comment.
The U.S. version got a pricey placement on NBC’s “Sunday Night Football,” according to iSpotTV.
If you listen closely, the ad’s Canadian roots are apparent by the dad’s accent. (The version of Peanut Butter Cheerios sold in Canada is not available in the U.S. Cheerios sells a “multi-grain” peanut butter flavor in the states, according to the brand’s website.) But Honey Nut Cheerios is a much bigger seller, which likely explains the product swap in the ad.
The “How To Dad” campaign is by Tribal Worldwide, Toronto. The spots depart from the typical bumbling dad figures so often seen in food ads by presenting dad as a multitasking superhero.
General Mills posted the U.S. version on its Facebook page. The ad got positive feedback, including from one male fan who posted: “Thank you Cheerios! Finally a commercial that shows we are not all buffoons around the house and leave the parenting to others. I have been waiting for this for 6 years! #HowToDad”
In other words, it’s about time. Or as the Canadian dad might say, it’s aboot time.