Breakfast has long been the domain of kids and moms. Especially breakfast cereal. Remember all the cartoon mascots, and “kid tested, mother approved!” commercials? Where was dad in all this? Usually either headed out the door in a hurry to some ubiquitous office job or silently funneling bacon, eggs, and toast. When it came to breakfast marketing, dads had to been seen, but definitely not heard.
And, as Ronn Torossian points out, there were good reasons for that setup. Dad was not the one who did the shopping, and the products were rarely, if ever, really aimed at him. But now a generation of kids who grew up on breakfast cereal and Saturday morning cartoons are flipping the script on the stereotypical demographic. First, more dads grew up with fond memories of particular brands. They CARE about what their kids eat. Second, an increasing number of dads are actually staying home with the kids. From SAHDs to homeschool dads to WAHDs, there are more guys involved in the cereal buying decisions.
And at least one company was listening. Recently, General Mills got in on the positive, socially conscious viral video trend. Now, what could have been just another smile-inducing moment, became a trendsetter. Dad was at center stage. And it wasn’t Homer Simpson, either. This dad was large and in charge. A Father Knows Best for Millennials.
And the result? The ad definitely struck a nerve. People were sharing a Cheerios commercial as if it were a social statement or some major political point. Why? Because Cheerios understood the value of taking a market segment that was traditionally undervalued and highlighting it. They made dad cool again, even if it was just for a minute. Now, will that create a trend that will echo across YouTube, and, potentially, network sitcoms? Probably not. At least not any time soon. For Cheerios, that’s okay. They get the rare chance to carry a successful message solo for a while.
How they use that power will determine the true PR payoff from a very good decision.