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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Kraft's Mel the MilkBite Mascot Called Damaging, Racially Offensive By Local Petition

Posted By on Tue, May 8, 2012 at 1:00 PM

Mel the MilkBite makes breakfast a somber affair fraught with identity struggle. Thanks, Kraft.
  • Mel the MilkBite makes breakfast a somber affair fraught with identity struggle. Thanks, Kraft.

In February, Kraft Foods Inc. released an ad campaign to promote its new MilkBite milk and granola bars featuring a controversial mascot: Mel the MilkBite, a confused character who struggles with his identity as half-milk, half-granola product.

Commercials chronicled Mel's battles with dating, interacting with his book-club friends and confronting his "parents" (a glass of milk and a bowl of granola) with questions like, "You didn't think, did you? You didn't think what life was going to be like for me...Mom, Dad. For your son." Predictably, the campaign incurred ire for trivializing multiracial parentage -- it didn't pass the breakfast test, so to speak.

Recently, a human rights petition was launched by Michelle Parrinello-Cason of St. Louis through lobbying Kraft chief executive officer Irene Rosenfeld to end Mel's tenure as the MilkBite mascot. "These commercials perpetuate stereotypes that multiracial people are flawed, cannot form their own identities, and will never fit in," the petition read. "In addition, your commercials suggest that parents of multiracial children are irresponsible and are not concerned with their children's well being."

Is Mel the MilkBite as a mascot for a cereal bar a bridge too far? Share your thoughts on the breakfast bar debacle below in the comments section.

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