Every morning, while I'm getting ready for work, one of your commercials airs on CNN and I stare at it in horror. I can't find the commercial on your YouTube channel, which may be for the best, but I'm sure you'd recognize it if I described it:
There are no adult actors. There is no sound, other than the noise of consumption. For fifteen seconds, the camera shows a baby scooping handfuls of Cheerios into its mouth and then beginning to chew them before it has removed the fingers. After that, the camera mercifully fades to a Cheerios branding screen.
I'm willing to bet that your company is very happy with this commercial. I bet the advertising firm showed it to your executives and spoke of how it would melt the hearts of parents everyone, tugging at their instincts to feed their human larvae solid foods that are both vaguely healthy and easy to mash into a pulp with gums and a few newly sprouted teeth. In all likelihood, parents do love that commercial.
You know who doesn't love it?
When I see that commercial I'm not reminded of my child (actual or aspirational), a favorite niece or nephew, a younger sibling, or even the child of close friends. Instead, I see a baby whose sticky soiled fingers, cheeks, chin, and shirtfront are probably smeared with saliva-coated, partially digested and half-chewed bits and lumps of Cheerios and whatever else manages to stick to it. I see jam-hands, and I want nothing to do with them.
Why do I mention this?
Because tonight I was in Kroger, in the breakfast foods aisle. I was looking for the new peanut butter flavored Pop Tarts, but they have not reached Tennessee yet. Disappointed, I turned away, and was confronted with a selection of Cheerios on the other side of the aisle. I thought, "Mmmmm... Cheerios. They even make peanut butter ones. Maybe I should..." and then my internal monologue was silenced by the image of a sticky baby jamming handfuls of Cheerios into its gaping maw, chewing and smearing and jamming and then reaching for me with its slimy wet hands, dripping with spit and whole grains. I cringed away from your cereal display so hard that for a second I felt like I had abs, and they were crunching me into a fetal position.
I had to buy two different kinds of cheese to settle myself.
I just thought you should know.