Cheerios remakes iconic 1999 holiday ad in response to viral TikTok video

The nostalgic commercial brought back the same grandma and baby from the original spot to emphasize connection in a tough holiday season.

Cheerios seized an opportunity to recreate its iconic 1999 holiday ad after a viral TikTok video reignited consumer excitement around the classic commercial.

In the original ad, a grandmother tells her grandchild that they’ll always be together for Christmas, and maps out where their family members live around the country using Cheerios. 

The new spot features the original commercial’s grandma and baby, who is now all grown up. The pair are staying connected on Christmas morning while celebrating the holiday together virtually.

The heartwarming idea came from a viral post by TikTok influencer Cori Spruiell, who asked Cheerios parent General Mills in November to create a 2020 version of the ad acknowledging the pandemic. Kathy Dixon, senior brand experience manager for Cheerios, said the team rushed to make the ad in time for Christmas after seeing the video, which reached more than 300,000 views, go viral.

Cheerios partnered with agency Martin Williams and content production studio, The Mint, on the project. Cheerios also found Peggy Miley, who played the original grandma, and Delfina Booth, who portrayed the baby 21 years ago.

Although Cheerios has used Facebook and Instagram to reach consumers, Dixon admitted that the company hadn’t been on TikTok much in the past. But after seeing the popularity of Spruiell’s video, the brand became interested in connecting with fans on the growing platform, which Cheerios plans to use more moving forward.

This year was the perfect time to launch the nostalgic holiday ad, Dixon said, because the brand’s main goal was to simply create a connection with consumers after a year of physical disconnection.

“I think we're all in this same place right now where we are all feeling emotional, and conflicted because we all want to be with our family and friends for the holidays,” she said. “Some of us have to make choices on that, and whether or not that’s going to happen. I think it's just tapping into that emotion and that nostalgia that people are just craving right now.”

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