Super Bowl Cheerios Ad Created by UM Grads

By UM News

Super Bowl Cheerios Ad Created by UM Grads

By UM News
The ad is a sequel to the Cheerios ad that created a viral buzz due to its featuring an interracial family.

There are no talking frogs, cool dogs, or celebrity endorsements.

In fact, the Super Bowl ad that’s creating the most buzz leading up to this Sunday’s ultimate football contest is about something decidedly un-buzzworthy: cereal. Yet the 30-second spot has already been viewed on YouTube around 1.5 million times and news outlets around the world have already swarmed around it. And that’s nothing compared to the more than 100 million viewers who will be watching on February 2, when it airs in prime time on Fox.

Behind this ad are two very creative recent UM graduates—Taylor Lucas, B.S.C. ’11, and Nick Marchese, B.S.C. ’11.

Lucas and Marchese are billed, respectively, as the art director and copywriter on the creative team that made “Gracie,” as the commercial is titled. They work for Saatchi & Saatchi, New York, one of the most prestigious advertising agencies in the country. Both received full-time offers there following internships in 2011.

So what’s all the hype about “Gracie,” which stars a curly-headed little girl who loves her parents and enjoys cereal shaped like Os? The story really began last May when Cheerios ran a prequel to this spot called “Just Checking.” It featured a young Gracie telling her mother that her dad said Cheerios are good for your heart. After Mom agrees, Gracie skips off, apparently satisfied. The camera then cuts to a man napping on the couch. When he wakes and begins to rise, a mound of Cheerios falls from his chest. Adorable. So why did Cheerios get so many nasty comments that its comments section for the ad on YouTube had to be shut down? It seems it was because Gracie’s dad happens to be African-American and her mom Caucasian. But in addition to receiving racist rants from a vocal minority, the commercial also garnered an even larger amount of positive reaction, quickly going viral. Flash-forward to the eve of Super Bowl XLVIII, and this American family is once again sharing a morning meal as dad uses their breakfast cereal of choice to explain to Gracie the pending arrival of a new member of their household as Mom looks on, um, expectantly.

Alyse Lancaster, an advertising professor at the School of Communication, served as an advisor to both Marchese, who majored in creative advertising, and Lucas, who majored in advertising and graphic art. Lancaster is not at all surprised that these 20-somethings are already creating work that’s in the national spotlight.

“Nick had a very unique talent to look at a problem differently than anyone else,” said Lancaster. “He is a reader and has an intuitive ability to understand issues.”

School of Communication professor Meryl Blau, who also advised Lucas and Marchese, said, “Nick and Taylor were a couple of the most passionate students we've had in the program with a true love for the industry.

“These two came in every day ready to create something better than the day before,” she said. “I remember the day they paired up as a team, and I knew they would be unstoppable. I couldn’t be more proud and impressed with where they are today.”

The commercial is set to air during Super Bowl XLVIII on February 2. According to Forbes.com, buying a 30-second spot to run during the most watched event in America costs $4 million.

The 2014 ad slated to run during Super Bowl XLVIII can be seen on the <a href="http://www.hudsonhouston.com/2014/01/gracie" title="Saatchi & Saatchi blog.">Saatchi & Saatchi blog.</a>