Tag Archives: Advertising Age

Advertising Shifting Away from “Multicultural” Agencies, Marketing Practices

by Latoya Peterson

nintendo-wii-sports--720348903

In the ad world, “multicultural marketing” and “narrowcasting” is out. The “best ideas” are supposed to win business and carry the day.  So how does that suddenly translate to “give larger, less diverse companies all the work and hope minority shops partner with them?”

Last week, Ad Age published a summary of the Association of National Advertisers’ Multicultural Marketing & Diversity Conference, where the writing on the wall was clear: niche marketing is out of fashion.  In some ways, this idea could have been a good thing.  After all, a lot of the “diversity” ideas coming from advertising outlets are patronizing, at best.

When asked whether he had considered working with a Hispanic shop rather than Ogilvy for the effort, Mr. Yokoi said, “I don’t want to disparage anyone, but we had been working with a Hispanic agency and the creative wasn’t working. It didn’t jibe with our general-market strategy.”

How? “Every Hispanic ad had a picnic” with a revolving cast of Latin musicians, he said. “It was almost patronizing.”

Certainly, minority owned businesses can spread stereotypes and rely on lazy marketing like any other agencies.  But the conclusions early on in the article gave me pause:

Speakers were almost universal in their belief that narrow-casting one group, such as African-Americans or Hispanics, is missing the point. Teresa Iglesias-Solomon, VP-multicultural and Latino initiatives at Best Buy, said the company had a tendency to break out three groups: women, Latinos and business owners — but she herself could have been lumped into all three categories at once. The point, she said, is that there are commonalities within each target group. “We need to make sure we are looking at the whole customer.” For example, moms have similar interests whether they are African-American, Asian-American, Hispanic or Caucasian.

That kind of insight was the impetus behind OgilvyCulture, a new “cross-cultural strategic-service practice” now launching from the WPP Group agency.

“It is not multicultural advertising, which tends to focus on specific ethnic markets,” said a spokeswoman. Instead, “cross-cultural marketing has the objective of developing one brief for clients designed to communicate across different cultures by celebrating shared values and insights.” [...]

“It gives us the capability to have a single voice to the consumer,” said Jeffrey Bowman, director of OgilvyCulture, who presented at the conference with his client, Ruy Yokoi, brand manager at Unilever.

Reading through the ideas and anecdotes presented, the overall message was clear: there is no need to specifically target racial and ethnic groups, and by extension, minority owned ad shops would need to partner with with larger, less diverse agencies in order to win business.

Luckily, HighJive and Pepper Miller were able to point out the underlying issues: this is yet another push to undermine minority owned advertising shops and minimize the impact of consumers of color. Continue reading

Denial and Delusion – Why Public Conversations About Race Fail Before They Begin

by Special Correspondent Latoya Peterson

I am done, done, done.

I intended to work on my follow up to Internalizing Stereotypes.

Key word: intended.

However, the sequel is not happening this week.

The sequel is not happening because my mind is cluttered with two articles that came to my attention in the last half of the week.

The first was a blog post on GameDaily Biz, a site and blog dedicated to the video game industry housed on Game Daily. I peruse GameDaily Biz every few days to find news and trends to discuss in the online gaming magazine Cerise. In addition to writing first person and opinion pieces about gaming, I also write their Gaming in the Media column. So, when I came across a “Your Turn” first person post on GameDaily Biz by Chris Mottes, CEO of Deadline Games, I was intrigued to see what he had to say.

Particularly because the post was titled, “That’s Racist! The Unjust Crusade Against Video Games.”

The article begins:

Members of the media often attack video games for being racist, sexist, mean-spirited, callous, unpleasant, insensitive, or just generally nasty. As a developer, I find most of these claims not only a touch insulting but also extremely tenuous, and in the majority of cases unfounded.

Fascinating. The majority of these cases are unfounded? As a black, female console gamer, I can definitively say that many of the video games I play (and enjoy) can be considered both sexist and racist. Sexism is rampant, particularly when you consider character design, costuming, and forced gender roles in play. Most female characters are designed for maximum sex appeal, relegated to damsel in distress roles, or physically limited and/or forced to contribute to the game in a limited capacity. Major female characters in RPGs tend to be healers or magic-users, normally devastated in battle by a few hits from a stronger male character. While there are a few standout exceptions – Samus from Metroid, Joanna Dark from Perfect Dark, and the oft-debated Lara Croft – most women in video games are side characters.

To illustrate the issue of racism, let’s play a little game. Off the top of your head, name 5 black video game characters. Now, exclude any characters that were not main characters. Now exclude any that appear in a sports game or hip-hop based game. Finally, exclude any characters that embody stereotypical representations of African Americans. (Yes, that means excluding CJ from Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.) How many are left in your list?

Or, let’s look at Asian Americans in video games. Again, off the top of your head, name five Asian video game characters – you can use both side characters and main characters. (For this one, we will exclude RPGs from the discussion since character ethnicity a murky subject). Now exclude fighting games. How many are left on your list?

Name five Latino game characters. Can you? I cannot – I have a vague memory of heavy accents in certain video games, but I am not able to bring up one latino character that wasn’t in a historical game like Age of Empires (which technically means I remember playing the game as an Incan and as a Spaniard). For those who can, what stands out about these characters? Continue reading

The ad industry’s mascot of cultural cluelessness

Note from CVK:
I highly encourage you to read Brownstein’s recent op-ed for AdAge.com, in which he quotes his one Black Friend and declares that agencies don’t get enough black and Latino applicants because “inner-city kids love to watch TV commercials — but they have no idea how the commercials are made.” The piece really encapsulates the cluelessness that exists in the advertising industry.

by guest contributor HighJive, originally published at MultiCultClassics

marc brownsteinAdvertising agencies consistently introduce characters that symbolize the cultural cluelessness, insensitivity and even racism so prevalent in the industry. Classic examples include Aunt Jemima, the Frito Bandito, and the Calgon Couple conspiring with their “ancient Chinese secret.” MultiCultClassics is proud to present the latest such character: Marc Brownstein.

Anyone unfamiliar with this new character is cordially encouraged to read the AdAge perspective presented in Essay 1205.

Just to be clear, this commentary is not intended to be a direct attack against Marc Brownstein. After all, it’s highly likely that Brownstein is a decent fellow and upstanding citizen. And he’s probably not a mean-spirited racist. Therefore, let’s avoid being haters regarding the true Marc Brownstein.

Rather, readers can think of Marc Brownstein as a label for actions and attitudes. Based on recent events (many of which have been detailed on this blog over the past months), it seems safe to conclude that every major Madison Avenue shop has a bunch of Marc Brownsteins on staff.

So what exactly is a Marc Brownstein?

When confronting issues of diversity and exclusivity, a Marc Brownstein openly displays passive bias. (Click here to read the MultiCultClassics kickoff essay, which serves up the phenomenon of passive bias.)

For guidance on race-based questions, a Marc Brownstein seeks counsel from a Black friend (who is often the only Black person in the Marc Brownstein social network). Of course, this Black friend will be a class act, unlike the majority of minorities featured on evening news broadcasts and regular installments of The People’s Court and Cops. Plus, the Black friend’s viewpoint will completely represent the opinions of every dark-skinned individual on Earth. Continue reading

Brand-new “Addicted to Race” episode out now (#43)!

by Jen Chau and Carmen Van Kerckhove
addicted to race logo
A brand-new episode of Addicted to Race is out! If you haven’t already, please subscribe to our podcast in iTunes. Click here to launch iTunes and subscribe today, it’s absolutely free.

RANT
The “ohmygodyou’rejewishnoway!” reactions Jen receives each year around the Jewish holidays are the subject of her rant today.

INTERVIEW: RACISM IN THE ADVERTISING INDUSTRY
Carmen interviews Matthew Creamer, a reporter for the industry publication Advertising Age, about the New York City Human Rights Commission’s investigation into the advertising industry’s hiring practices. The staffs at ad agencies are so lacking in diversity that the entire industry is under investigation. For more about this story, check out HighJive’s post on Racialicious.

RSS FEED SHOULD BE BACK UP!
I ended up uninstalling and reinstalling WordPress altogether, and as far as I can tell, our RSS feed is working again now. However, I need to re-upload all the MP3 files of our old episodes, so you might encounter some dead links this week. Also, give me a couple days to get our logo back up, and all the little things in the sidebar.

HELP US SPREAD THE WORD!
Please help us reach new listeners by voting for us on Podcast Alley, reviewing us on Yahoo’s podcast directory and reviewing us in iTunes.

NEW TO PODCASTS?
Check out this great introduction for the new podcast listener from iTunes. It breaks down all the different ways you can find podcasts, listen to them, subscribe to them, and so on.

Duration – 47:55
File Size – 19.3 MB
Right-click here to download an MP3 of Addicted to Race Episode 43
or
Click here to never miss an episode by subscribing to us in iTunes
or
click the button below to play it immediately

Racism in the advertising industry

by guest contributor HighJive, originally published at MultiCultClassics

“People, I just want to say, you know, can we all get along?”

That’s a tough question to answer, based on the last few weeks in the advertising industry.

Anheuser-Busch pulled the plug on its Bud Light campaign starring Zagar and Steve. Native American groups complained Zagar — who bears an uncanny resemblance to a Yanomamo tribesman — displayed stereotypical and racist characteristics.

An Ohio auto dealership sparked outrage by trying to air a radio commercial with blatantly anti-Muslim messaging. The announcer copy proclaimed the car seller was “declaring jihad on the automotive market.”

The Chicago Creative Awards sunk to new lows with Master of Ceremonies Tony Little, accompanied by two scantily-clad, large-breasted bimbos. The lecherous Little literally groped female award recipients when they stepped onto the stage. Next year, maybe the Chicago Creative Club will book Neil French to host.

CBS reality TV series “Survivor” segregated contestants by ethnicity, ultimately polarizing advertisers as well. After two episodes, the producers switched to a multicultural merging with no explanation.

Plus, a contender in Advertising Week’s annual icon contest is none other than Aunt Jemima.

The continuing diversity soap opera inspired plenty of ugliness too.

Advertising Age conducted a poll that showed 93 percent of respondents did not think the agreements signed by New York shops would solve the exclusivity problems.

Advertising Age followed through with a cynical editorial that stirred controversy when the iconic publication declared The Human Rights Commission is “asking the industry to lower its standards” by hiring minorities. Subsequent “clarifications” by AdAge were delivered with a bumbling incompetence reminiscent of the infamous Al Campanis perspective on Blacks in sports. Continue reading