Re: race in commercials

Dorothy J. Cattle (cattledj@WFU.EDU)
Thu, 7 Dec 1995 07:15:11 -0500

On Wed, 6 Dec 1995, Rob Prince wrote:

> This is a response to Carolyn Sawin-Wilson
> I haven't seen multi-racial commercials either.

I've seen both "multi-ethnic" billboards and commercials. One example
of the former [including quite popular print ads] is the United Colors of
Benneton ads. These are at least..what? 5 years old?, maybe have been
run longer than that. Seems Benneton (which is a clothing company
catering to young people-may not still be in business) featured
multi-racial/cultural groups of young people from this school or that to "
people" some of their ads [as opposed to just selecting models]. The
in-trend in ads now *is* multi-racial/ethnic displays, of course diminishing
the meaningfulness.
They're all over and for many products. There's one on TV for Target
stores, where the main person is singing Disney's It's a Small World
[which also gets prominently acknowledged in the ads]. There's the Coke
commercials that have been running for years. There's the TV commercial
of a set of billboards [above Times Square?] that "interact" and the
models are various "races." We're in an era of exploiting and
commercializing race, ethnicity, culture. I see it constantly.
Enjoyed the perspective from South Africa about such ads. The ones
I've been describing are without humor; certainly the majority isn't
laughing at itself, altho some members may be laughing all the way to the
Also, the multi- ads do not usually show people in positions of power.
You might also want to compare university advertising to see who is now
featured in pictures...

Dorothy J. Cattle
Wake Forest University