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Jan 31, 2014 • By

Behind the scenes of “Gracie”

As commercials go, the new “Gracie” spot from Cheerios – airing during the big game this Sunday night – is about as simple of a concept for an ad as can be.

It involved a short script, the small kitchen of a house in California and three actors who Cheerios had worked with before.

As you’ve seen here on A Taste of General Mills, “Gracie” features a conversation between a little girl and her father at breakfast.

While her mother listens nearby, her dad tells her that the baby on the way in the family will be a boy.

Grace’s reaction is priceless.

I was fortunate to be on the set for the production of “Gracie,” in order to put together this behind-the-scenes look at the making of the ad.

The end result of the work of the actors, the creative team and a couple of dozen crew members is 30 charming seconds of Cheerios TV magic.

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Matt Smukler, director of “Gracie.”

“What we talked about was this being a little bit of a poker game,” says Matt Smukler, director of “Gracie” for Community Films. “Dad thinks that he’s figured out a pretty clever way to tell his daughter that she’s going to have a brother, and make a game of it. But it’s almost as if Grace has gone a step further and said ‘I call your flush and I’ve got a full house. I want a puppy.’”

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A storyboard for “Gracie,” displayed on the set of the commercial shoot.

The more that the ad’s creative team and leaders within Cheerios thought about it, bringing back the family that was cast in “Just Checking” was perfect for a commercial from the brand in such a high-profile broadcast.

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Doug Martin, marketing manager for Cheerios, and Camille Gibson, vice president of marketing for Big G cereals, with the cast of “Gracie.”

“We had this cast, this family that was just such a hit with everyone, so it was about finding out what else we could do with them that would be charming, that would be Cheerios, and that would give people the same kind of smile,” says Peter Moore Smith, Saatchi & Saatchi.

“This commercial is everything that we knew and thought about these actors, and this family that we loved from the “Just Checking” spot,” says Camille Gibson, vice president of marketing for Big G cereals. “The actors and the crew did a fabulous job of bringing the tone and the point of view that we love about a Cheerios family.”

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“Gracie” actress Grace Colbert takes a break during the commercial production, to watch and listen to the crew shoot a scene.

From the first creative brainstorm sessions and script development meetings, to turning a California home into a production set for the second time, “Gracie” is a perfect fit for the game on Sunday, when families gather to watch pro football’s best teams – and all the ads, of course.

“I think being part of the big game shows how integral Cheerios is in the lives of families in America,” Moore Smith told me during a break in the commercial shoot. “Cheerios is one of the most-loved brands in the country and it belongs in such a big marquee venue. To me, the game is really the right place for the brand to be, and it’s just an incredible privilege to be able to work on a spot like this that so many people will see.”

Editor’s note: We also went behind-the-scenes of two other Cheerios commercials: “Night Drive” and “3rd Shift.”