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

Categories: WTF?

melmilkbites550.jpg
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 Change.org 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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6 comments
Bradcarruth8
Bradcarruth8

Get over yourself lady!!! Mel the milkbite is just a brown rectangle of foam!!! Kraft actually did a great job with this character!! It's people like you who are way too racially sensitive & look for every opportunity to say that some major company is slandering your ethnic group! What about that talking Tostitos chip bag that says "Boo-ya"? Are you going to slap them with a class action lawsuit?

Loudmarcia
Loudmarcia

I think people r taking this a little to far. Race, really? It's not about race, it's about a breakfast far. It's funny and cute. I can identify with him because I'm a quiet person. I'm not going 2 place blame on a commercial. There's more important things going on in the world, then to over dramatize a Mel the Milkbite commercial. What r people going criticize every commercial? U see nudity in football games( cheerleaders), Victoria secret commercials, even commercials about spicing up your love life. I don't see anyone complaining about THOSE commercials:( Mel makes me and my family laugh. People take things 2 seriously:(

AmyH
AmyH

He's not "trying to "pass" for milk" he IS milk. Besides the commercial is clearly offensive to meek, clueless white guys. I've dated enough of them to tell you that this is what they're trying to portray. He wants to be loved and doesn't understand why no-one wants his bland lameness - he should try Shop n' Save, they'll take anybody.

Tb100
Tb100

Technically you could only draw this argument if both the parents were two different kinds of milk, and the child was some sort of hybrid.

In this case, the parents are two different breakfast elements all together. So it is more like drawing a parallel between a human and a tiger having a child than a white person and black person.

So I don't think it's racist to imply that a tiger and human shouldn't have children...it's just not safe or responsible.

Kelli Gardner Bell
Kelli Gardner Bell

Tb100, you seem to be taking the milk and granola pairing very literally. It's not the genetics of milk and granola that are being questioned, but rather the cultural themes Kraft is riffing on to create Mel's "identity crisis." These commercials aren't even cute; their tone is depressing. It just seems like a lose-lose ad campaign.

Michelle Parrinello-Cason
Michelle Parrinello-Cason

Hi. I'm the writer of the petition. While I appreciate your concern for the safety of tigers, I have to say that if you watch all of the commercials in this series (especially the "Blind Date" one, where Mel goes on a date with a white (human) woman and tries to "pass" for milk), it's pretty clear that Kraft is using it as a metaphor for race. 

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