Tag Archives: marketing

The Dancing Hawaiian Girl, At Your Service

By Guest Contributor Lisa Wade, Ph.D.; originally published at Sociological Images

The marketing for beach-related vacation destinations often capitalizes on the association of foreign beaches with (partly) naked bathing beauties. This intersection of race, gender, and sexuality that positions the “ethnic” woman as particularly sexually accessible have deep roots in our colonial past in which foreign lands “open” to conquest by the Western world were conflated with foreign women “open” to conquest by Western men.

The “Hula Girl” is a case in point.

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Advertising Shifting Away from “Multicultural” Agencies, Marketing Practices

by Latoya Peterson

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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

Who’s Allowed to Tell the Tale? (And Which Tales Should They Tell?)

by Guest Contributor Belleisa, originally published at PostBourgie

There’s a game I like to play when I walk into a bookstore. Based on the the title, cover and store placement I can always interpret the marketing intention for a book meant for a black American audience. The best part of this game is that the books will, typically, fit into the following categories (they are, in no particular order):

1. Black Pathology or “What’s wrong with Black people?”
2. The literature of “sistah gurl”
3. Christian-oriented fiction/inspirational
4. Street-Lit or Hip-Hop fiction
5. The Slave Novel
6. The Civil Rights Book (This also includes Black Nationalism)
7. The extraordinary rise from street life/poverty/welfare into the middle class.
8. Poorly styled celebrity memoir, or well researched and documented hagiography
9. Black Queens and Kings
10. Hip-Hop analysis
11. AFRICA
12. The “Black” version of some mainstream topic (For example: “Black Girl’s Guide to Fashion; “Black Families’ Guide to Wealth;”) Guides will include slang, bright colors, and inevitably the phrase “the legacy of slavery.”
13. The Classics: Harlem Renaissance 101 and/or The Black Arts Movement. Toni Morrison.
14. Contemporary Classics or Literary Fiction (Mostly woman, mostly diaspora authors)
15. Non-black author writes really compelling story about black person(s); story gets awards accolades, lots of press and movie deal.

These topics produce wonderful books and poorly written books. They often represent a compendium of the black American experience, and just as often, they are simply a reflection of what publishing thinks black people read.

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How to market a black man without being racist: America, we’ll get there

By Guest Contributor The Elahater, originally published at hate on me

So for about the 467th time since November, I heard news once again that some company was marketing a product or doing something that is racially insensitive when trying to capitalize on the election of Barack Obama as president. Cause it’s happened before. Yea, many times. Ad nauseam, I believe is how they call it. So who’s the culprit this time?

obamachia

Yeah, they made a Chia-Pet Obama version (special edition, it says!) which depicts his natural black hair growing out like what some say is a green ‘fro. After complaints and bad press, Walgreens, et. al. pulled the product.

I don’t know about the rest of the haters here at HateOnMe, but I’m getting tired of having to explain to companies, public officials and everyone else putting themselves out there about what they shouldn’t do or say or market or joke about when it comes to the president and his race. So I’m not gonna do it this time.

I had thought this would happen, that confusions about what people “can” and “can’t” say about the prez would come about. And I guess I was right. One commentator points out in light of “Chia-Gate:”

The Chia Obama has now become the latest part of the debate on how to market, and talk about Obama, without being racist. The smallest slipup in making an Obama caricature of any kind brings on racist charges, despite claims of a “post-racial” nation after the election victory

People don’t know how to market and even talk about Obama because they’re more concerned about not being called a racist than actually being a racist. And I can’t hate on just these companies and those that market their products (although it’s obvious that many don’t have people of color in board meetings), ’cause they’re just a reflection of a good chunk of society anyway.

It’s just like your friend who may not know much about your ethnic background: they say some shit, you call them out on it, they apologize and retract and they learn not to say that thing again. If they’re jerks they’ll think in their minds, “Damn, you’re sensitive. Whatever.” BUT if they’re humble about the fact they don’t know what it’s like to be Black/Latino/Asian/Middle Eastern/Gay etc. etc. in America today, they’ll shut up and listen to you.

And I mean really listen. Listen with an attitude of wanting to learn something rather than one of “I know more/How can I disprove what is being said to me?” Stop appropriating the space and allow others to educate you for a minute.

Trust me: we’ve heard them.

Another Weird-ass Skittles Commercial

by Guest Contributor Angry Asian Man, originally published at Angry Asian Man

A lot of folks have wrote in this week to tell about this really bizarre Skittles commercial, featuring two dudes yelling at each other in Thai and Tagalog. It really makes no sense to me at all. And I don’t know what’s weirder — that the two Asian guys are yelling at each other in different languages, or that the white guy has a multicultural reflection. “Reflect the Rainbow.” Get it? Me neither.

Asian hair for halloween!

by Guest Contributor Angry Asian Man, originally published at Angry Asian Man

Well, it’s October, and that means Halloween is coming. It also means we can expect to see the unending variety of typically racist Halloween costumes that pop up every year. You too can be Oriental, just for one night. Here a few ridiculous ones, with a hair-centric theme…

The above costume item was recently spotted at a Party City. Want to be a “China Man” this Halloween? Apparently, all it takes is a crappy-looking moustache. It’s easy. Just affix this nasty piece of hair on your upper lip, and there you go, instant China Man! Adding some fu to your manchu. (Thanks, Brandon.)

But hey, why stop there? There are other fun and easy ways to be Chinese. Just try on the Chinese Man wig, “an ancient style with bald front and long pigtail in the back.” But even at the low sale price of $41.48, the Chinese Man wig might just be a little outside your budget. That’s okay, because the Bargain Chinese Man wig is also available for just $22.05. Because nobody should miss out on the racist mockery. Continue reading

Race in the Election…in Canada!

by Special Correspondent Thea Lim

SURPRISE! Canada is having an election this year too!

However, wily characters that we are, our election was called as recently as September 7, and we’re still going to beat our American neighbours to the polls when we vote next week. However, that’s basically it for pluses when it comes to Canadian politics: advance polls are saying that we will most likely end up with a Conservative majority. *

On Tuesday my friend Leslie sent me this Globe and Mail article on “sophisticated new methods” that parties are turning to in order to figure out how to lure in those mysterious “ethnic” voters.

For the first time in a federal election, three of Canada’s five main political parties are using a sophisticated new micro-targeting voter-profile tool, which outlines people’s ethnicity, social values and income level, cross-referenced with their political support.

The tool, developed by Environics, allows political strategists to fine-tune their message for voters at the neighbourhood level, helping candidates win key battleground ridings in Ontario and British Columbia, many of which have large ethnic communities.

“This tool not only gives you the big picture, but goes to a riding level and tells you which percentage of voter groups live in the riding and whether ethnicity is an issue,” said Jan Kestle, president of Environics Analytics.

There is a sudden demand for multicultural research tools such as this one, as Canada’s ethnic communities grow in size and political importance. Now that immigrants no longer vote exclusively for the Liberals, all parties are reaching out to them.

Please note the equation of “ethnic communities” with “immigrants.” In case you are foggy on the Canadian history: similarly to the US, people of colour have been living in Canada for almost as long as white folks have. Sure many people of colour in Canada are recent immigrants, but many (especially in Western Canada) have been here for generations.

“It’s a numbers game. The election can turn on a dime. Ethnics play a key role in this and happen to be living in the ridings that are close,” said David Crapper, president of Genesis Public Opinion Research Inc., the Conservatives’ official pollster in the 2006 election.

Goodness, “Ethnics” playing a key role in an election? What is the world coming to??

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A Racist Sock?

by Latoya Peterson


Y’all know this job gets to me sometimes, right? Everyday, I get an email inbox and a del.icio.us inbox full of racist goodies from here and around the world.

But I was really about to pack it in when I got an email about a sock.

A sock?

A fucking sock?

How are they going to make a racist sock? I’m used to racist tee-shirts, but a sock just crosses the line!

Then I re-read the email, and found out it wasn’t the sock that was racist, it was the marketing of said sock.

Reader Tennille writes:

Old Navy is now selling what they call border patrol socks for baby in sizes 0-6 months through 5T. Here’s the description and the link: “Fun socks feature military inspired embroidery sure to have your little man transforming everything he can get his hands on into an aerial assault vehicle capable of unstoppable fire power only to be used in the defense of the defenseless [...] The racist, xenophobic, and gendered messages in these socks are amazingly obvious and saddening to me. I thought this might make good fodder for a posting.”

Tennille sent me the email August 26th. I checked the link, saw it was as she stated, and the socks were called “Border Patrol.” Fail, Old Navy, Fail.

Now that I am prepping this post (a hot three weeks later), I notice some changes have been made.

The socks are now called “Military Graphic Socks for Baby,” and the description has changed:

Get his feet in fighting shape! Cute cartoonish graphics of helicopters and jets suit his adventurous spirit.

Well, they got rid of the racism and xenophobia – two out of three. I’m glad someone finally noticed and caught on.

But the original link still stands testament to what was there:

http://www.oldnavy.com/browse/product.do?pid=581576022&userSearchText=border+patrol&searchCID=26519&vid=1

Hmm…well, I’m glad they did change it after all. I wonder who is responsible for writing the website text for this kind of stuff anyway?