Sunday, February 9, 2014

Diversity in Advertising -- What Gives?

The advertising industry these days is a-buzzed with both praises and rants in connection with the current trend of promoting more diversity and featuring more diverse ad models.More than that, more and more ads are coming out with real life people. 
 
Diversity in commercial advertising still has a long way to go in reflecting the appearances and experiences of America’s various populations. However the Swiffer ad and others seem to be stepping into reality TV territory – more inclusive casting choices, less pretending that we all look, sound and behave alike in our homes and communities. “Well, it’s about time that Madison Avenue and advertisers are really embracing the reality of what America is today,” says Ann Christine Diaz, Creativity Editor at AdAge. Read more
 
The Swiffer ad has been noted for featuring a real-life disabled person together with his real family.


On the other hand, there still exists some form of biases, or racial prejudices.
In an article, an African-American commercial model, and a mother of a biracial child, writes about her own personal experience of not being cast as the mother of her own child in a commercial, just because her child has a different color from hers.
 
When I took acting classes, my instructors often told me that directors preferred to cast parents with their own kids for family commercials so the emotions would appear more natural. But those teachers weren't thinking about the glaring exceptions to that rule -- the white mother with her cocoa-skinned children, or the African-American mother, like me, with her vanilla baby. Read more of her story here


This brings to mind the much talked about Cheerios ad with its biracial family in it, and how it has earned lots of racist comments.


Yet, the challenge for the advertising industry to step up with diversity remains. As was written in one news article last year, “Advertisers for many years always took the safe route, which was to try to ruffle no feathers and in doing so became less and less authentic and real,” he said. “To succeed today, big brands like Cheerios need to be in touch with what’s authentic and true about American families.” See more

If you are interested in pursuing a career in advertising, you may visit DiversityWorking, the largest job board online, and browse for advertising jobs.




1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ads show a dis-proportional picture of minority person. Why are you gaming us?