Ebony And Ivory, Living Together In Commercial Harmony

The increasing trend of multiple ethnicities appearing together in commercials gets a closer look in this AP story:

It wasn’t always like this. For much of the past century, “minorities were either invisible in mainstream media, or handed negative roles that generally had them in a subservient position,” says Jerome Williams, a professor of advertising and African-American studies at the University of Texas at Austin.
“Today, you’re starting to see a juxtaposition of blacks and whites together, doing the things people do … Now, advertisers are not in a position of pushing social justice. But to the extent that they can put whites and blacks together in situations, I think that’s a good thing.”
These “multiculti” ads may be evidence of the vitality of assimilation, America’s distinctive, master trend. To advertisers, though, they’re simply smart business — a recognition of a new cultural mainstream that prizes diversity, a recognition that we are fast approaching a day when the predominant hue in America will no longer be white.
“Going forward, all advertising is going to be multicultural by definition, because in most states, majority ethnic populations will no longer exist,” says Danny Allen, managing director at SENSIS, an ad agency in Los Angeles that specializes in reaching multicultural audiences through digital and online media.

That may be true, but I think that increasingly, with shrinking budgets and an attempt to relate to as many people as possible, clients are trying to check off as many ethnic boxes as they can in each ad. I looked at this topic a couple of years ago in a Talent Zoo column.

About Dan Goldgeier

Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. Dan is also a columnist for TalentZoo.com and the author of View From The Cheap Seats and Killer Executions and Scrubbed Decks.