Category Archives: advertising

The Least Happy Jamaican: On Volkswagen’s Super Bowl Commercial

By Guest Contributor Suzanne Persard

Am I the last Jamaican to miss the happiness train?

After millions of hits on YouTube and a whirl of international attention, arguably the most popular commercial Volkswagen has ever aired, has been approved by “100 Jamaicans,” hailed as humorous by hundreds of other Jamaicans, and endorsed by the Jamaican Minister of Tourism.

The ad features a white man from Minnesota speaking exaggeratedly in patois, urging his unhappy coworkers to become happier with phrases like, “Yuh know what dis room needs? A smile!”  Clearly, this is Volkswagen’s way of telling you, Jamaicans are happy! You should be happy, too! Buy a 2013 Volkswagen Beetle and get happy!
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Racialicious Crush Of The Week: Restaurant Opportunities Centers United’s (ROC United) Videos

By Andrea Plaid

You know I love the hell out of something or someone when I have to write a second post about it/them.

In my interview with Crush alum Yvonne Yen Liu, I posted this video ROC United co-founder Saru Jayaraman showed at Facing Race’s “No Justice, No Peas” panel that Liu moderated:

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Meanwhile, On TumblR: More Scot Nakagawa Love And HBO Def Poet Mark Gonzales

By Andrea Plaid

Considering how you all responded to the excerpt last week, you’re still digging our past Crush Of The Week Scot Nakagawa, especially what he said about voting and the maintenance of white privilege, which just happened to coincide with the R’s and National Black Programming Consortium’s buzzy efforts around the documentary about the 2008 vote in Ghana, An African Election:

I grew up in the 1960s and 70s, back when that La Choy commercial was considered about as offensive as selling water softener as an “ancient Chinese secret.” That was a much more naive time for whites. That naivete was rooted in the unquestioned dominance of whiteness. In fact, so dominant were whites that American was synonymous with Caucasian.

But the racial equity movements of my childhood would soon shatter that naivete, pulling whites into a struggle to maintain their cultural dominance that made the contours and vulnerabilities of whiteness visible to whites, perhaps for the first time. Until then, being the assumed racial and cultural norm of America was fundamental to white identity and to the ethos of American exceptionalism.

But when white cultural advantage was challenged, white folk mobilized. KKK membership grew, White Citizens Councils formed, and the Republican Party stepped in to provide a political vehicle for white backlash that is still in effect today.

And now, as the racial demographics of the U.S. and the world turn to the increasing numerical advantage of non-whites, the backlash movement that peaked in the 1990s is resurgent. Membership in racist Patriot groups and vigilante border patrols is on the rise, and Tea Parties and groups like True the Vote are wreaking havoc on our political process. And they’re not nearly done yet. The global scale of white conservative ambitions can be measured by the body count in what increasingly appears to be a permanent war against the so-called Muslim world, the popular support for which is founded in Islamophobia.

It is in this context that the current voter suppression efforts we are seeing around the country should be understood. Overcoming these efforts in this election cycle is only one among many battles. Unless we see that battle as connected to the battles for immigration rights, religious freedom, racial equity and gender equity, reproductive and sexual freedom, and the battle to curtail the ambitions driving the expansion of American empire, we are missing the dynamics of the larger war and may soon find much more than voting rights among its casualties.”

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Taco Bell Con Artistry (Continued)

by Guest Contributor Highjive, originally published at MultiCultClassics

A comment left for the previous post rightly wondered who Taco Bell is really addressing with its campaign starring Chef Lorena Garcia. To be clear, MultiCultClassics did not think the fast feeder was wooing Latinos. Sorry for the clumsy writing. Probably should have typed something like: Latinos know better than to believe Taco Bell creates authentic Mexican food, but maybe White folks will be conned after seeing a Latina chef allegedly cook up new menu items. Then again, that line doesn’t really capture the essence of Taco Bell’s questionable marketing move. On the universal scale of authenticity for Mexican food, Taco Bell occupies the end alongside Fritos® and Doritos®—and fittingly, its most popular recent launches incorporated the snack chips. Perhaps Taco Bell is responding to competitors such as Chipotle and Qdoba, where the food is closer to being legitimate. Or maybe someone at Yum! Brands figured if Popeyes can be successful with Annie the Chicken Queen, Taco Bell will thrive with Chef Lorena Garcia. Regardless, the comments at YouTube show others are not buying the bullshit:

One of these things is not like the other: “Taco Bell” and “gourmet”
…or “Taco Bell” and “flavor”
…or “Taco Bell” and “tasty”
deedeebolden
:::
The cantina bowls suck, they’re bland and not good at all—doesn’t even compare to Chipotle in the slightest.
bmonee5
:::
[Taco Bell] could SHIT in their tacos and people would still buy, wtf is this shit?
AddictsPalato
:::
as if it wasn’t obvious that taco bell is for when you’re drunk and/or high as fuck
ScottEast91
:::
BRING BACK THE CHEESY BEAN AND RICE BURRITO YOU BASTARDS!!!
anoopks
:::
Hell yes! The execs at taco bell are dumber than a brick wall. People go to taco bell for fast, cheap food that tastes really good.
This is speculation but when they introduce new products like this cantina crap, they discontinue older stuff to make room and lower cost. Idiots.
I love how taco bell is flaunting its social media praise (notice how they only select the best reviews) yet they ignored a 3-year-long social campaign to bring back the chili cheese burrito. They don’t listen to us.
logictrigger
:::
Why is Taco Bell trying to pretend to be Mexican? Lol. This Cantina shit is WAY too overpriced anyway haha
NeenaAndEmily
:::
Can you honestly call your food gourmet if you have to seriously rework the definition of the word? I highly doubt the line servers at my local Taco Bell will be able to make this appetizing or digestible just because a so-called world-class chef created this concoction.
ramesesmmx

Adidas ‘Shackle Shoes’ Get The Boot

By Arturo R. García

Courtesy: CNN

Not even Run-DMC could’ve made these Adidas sound like a good idea.

Fortunately, the company reversed course Monday, opting not to release the shoes pictured above, the JS Roundhouse Mids, named after designer Jeremy Scott, who had said on Twitter that the shoes were inspired by My Pet Monster dolls. He did not, however, explain either how the image of somebody walking around with shoes couldn’t bring up images of imprisonment–let alone outright slavery–as Syracuse University’s Dr. Boyce Watkins described at Your Black World:

When I see the shoes, I also think about the ankle bracelets being worn by far too many men who are affected by the mass incarceration epidemic that the White House says nothing about. The black family has ripped itself apart because so many of our fathers, brothers, husbands and sons are locked away in prison, leading their children vulnerable to all the horrible things that happen when the man of the house is not away. I am offended by these shoes because there is nothing funny about the prison industrial complex, which is the most genocidal thing to happen to the black family since slavery itself.

Adidas wasn’t very talkative either, releasing a boilerplate statement citing Scott’s “quirky” and “lighthearted” style and apologizing “if people were offended by the design.” Meanwhile, according to Zap2it, he stuck to retweeting supporters dismissing such questions as the work of internet trolls. Because that’s a sensible response, right?

Ultimately, the JS Roundhouses will join Nike’s “Black and Tans” and “Air Allahs,” Umbro’s “Zyklons” and Converse’s “Loaded Weapons” on the pile of debacles that could’ve easily been avoided had a little common sense and empathy been allowed into the creative process.

Race + Politics: Univision Flexes Some Muscle

By Arturo R. García

With the Latino electorate emerging more and more as a key constituency, the dust-up over this commercial highlights the tightrope both President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney will have to walk in engaging with not only this diverse array of voters, but the media outlets they follow.

In the ad, Univision News anchor Jorge Ramos is shown saying, “Close to 46 million Americans do not have health insurance.” The ad–not Ramos himself–goes on to tout Obama’s Healthcare Reform Bill. The commercial is part of the opening salvo in a $4 million advertising campaign pitched toward Spanish-speaking households.

On Monday, Ramos, the host of Univision’s Al Punto, closed the program denouncing the Obama campaign for using his image in the ad. Courtesy of Mediaite, here’s Ramos’ commentary:

And here’s the English translation:

A few hours ago the Obama reelection campaign aired an ad using my image and that of Noticias Univisión. I want to make clear that I reject the use of my likeness and that of Noticias Univisión in any election campaign. We have let the Obama campaign and the White House know, and we want to leave a public notice of our disagreement. We have always defended our journalistic integrity and will always continue to do so.

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DISGRASIAN OF THE WEAK! Vagina Whitening (That’s Right, You Heard Me)

By Guest Contributor Jen Wang, cross-posted from Disgrasian

One year I vacationed in Mexico and spent the entire time in the water, body surfing and boogie boarding. My skin got really dark, which I don’t care about one way or another, though I am afraid of sun damage and skin cancer, in that order. I made one mistake that trip though, and it wasn’t forgetting sunscreen (always, always remember sunscreen). My mistake was going to see my grandmother right after. The first thing she said, once she got over the shock, was “How did you get so dark?!” For the rest of the visit, she introduced me to her friends as “My Granddaughter-Who’s-Normally-Not-This-Dark.”

Light skin is still prized in Asia for a number of reasons that have to do with longstanding notions of race, class, and gender. Good thing then, that there’s a booming market for skin whitening creams, many of them manufactured by Western companies! And good thing the companies who make these creams also make commercials, because quite a few of them–beyond their creepy, disturbing premise–are kinda hilarious.
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