If you understand the basics of marketing then you know the images used in advertisements are supposed to be a reflection of the consumer that company wants. Simple enough, right? We tend to pay attention to commercials that include people who reflect our age and race, or we may respond to messages about what is hot, cool and trendy. These companies want that light bulb to turn on in your head and your debit card to swipe as soon as possible.
Fair enough, but what I want to dig into is: who in the world is behind these images in advertisement that seem to think every woman has natural hair and every man is bald or has locks in the African-American community? The sister with the curly afro is telling me about the latest toothpaste on the market, and the brother with the bald head is ordering the new item off the fast food menu. Is this really what they think we all are? If so, I can toss out some hair care figures in the African American community spent yearly to reflect the exact opposite.
At first I thought it was just me and my marketing background overanalyzing commercials, but when I mentioned it to friends outside of the industry they shared the same thoughts! When companies come out with new campaigns targeting African- Americans, you can bet these typical images will be in constant rotation on BET and VH-1 during the networks’ latest cycle of urban programs. Now I’m in no way discrediting the quality of these new products or services, but is it possible for me to learn about getting some car insurance from a lady who has freshly pressed hair or a gentleman with a nice fade?
A while ago, I stopped giving portions of my paycheck to companies that I felt didn’t ethically get their message across to my demographic. To be more specific, I’m referring to their use of slang and/or the over-the-top hip hop theme. I think some corporations got the memo on that one, but now this ‘natural’ thing is getting to me. If I stick to this practice of not spending my funds, my cabinets and stomach will be empty!
Can’t help but to ponder that the agencies these major companies are using when launching their latest and greatest might not have a tint to their skin if you know what I mean. The finance department loves using one agency for every race to cut cost but sometimes using multiple agencies speaks to your brands sensitivity. Expertise in General Market, Hispanic and African American races can keep the registers ringing without comprising your brand.
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