What annoys me is that it is almost always a black male with a fair-haired female; seems like whoever decided this is a good thing is aiming to increase the contrast to make it even more noticeable … definitely not a balanced message and certainly not one that reflects the interracial couples I know (white male / black female and white male / asian female).
There have been lots of non-whites on TV for quite a while now but this preponderance of interracial couples and queers is something I’ve only been seeing since the last election. I don’t need progressive moral lessons in my TV commercials to accept people for just being different from me.
Indeed. It is a pretty darned big deal to be able to see someone who is “like me” being depicted in media. When advertising (and media, in general) was almost entirely depicting white heterosexuals, a significant percentage of Americans weren’t being included in those depictions.
Being more inclusive of ethnicity, sexuality, and ability means that advertising is starting to reflect all of their audience, not just the straight white folks.
And, yes, sometimes it feels ham-handed (like the ads with a group of women, where there’ll be one black woman, one disabled woman, etc.), but I think, on the whole, it’s still far better than it was before.
Modnote: Your use of the word queer in this context is offensive to some.
It is worth noting the use of queer as a noun in particular and in a negative post can be offensive to many. Try to keep this in mind.
They aren’t making these changes to push a social agenda. Rather, the people they are targeting with the ad prefer to see ads presented this way and find them more appealing. Ads typically target people in the 18-35 demographic. The younger generation is much less concerned about rigid racial and sexual boundaries, and their relationships reflect that. The farther you are from that demographic, the less you will relate to the typical ad.
As much as “racist” seems like it would more appropriately only refer to people who believe in the inherent differences (and, often implicitly, the inherent superiority or inferiority of) what are actually socially constructed races with no real underlying basis, I think that ship has sailed already in common usage.
However, I still occasionally see pushback against using “racism” in an even broader context to describe ethnic bigotry that does not conform to what the speaker considers “races”, which seems sort of silly. The difference between racism and other types of ethnic discrimination are not worth quibbling about in my opinion, so I am fine with using either term interchangeably even when the “race” affected is, for instance, Jewish people.
I’ve noticed the mixed-couples, it doesn’t ‘bother me’, but I am impressed how much and how fast this has happened. I sometimes wonder how they decide how to target people suffering from anxiety and depression (besides tired looking middle class white women). I notice also the Gerber baby now has what I assume is a ‘single mother’ and a lot more of gay women couples in commercials. I used to listen to talk radio years ago and one of them (maybe Sally Jessy Raphael) said something about how interesting so many of the callers were, so varied, ‘all part of the rich tapestry of life’..
ESG stands for environmental, social and corporate governance, in which “social” covers equal-opportunity employment; diversity, equity and inclusion; etc. In recent years, ESG compliance has become an important issue for many companies.
This. Ads are following the market, not leading the market. Having all-white commercials would be pushing a social agenda.
The other side of diverse casting in ads is that it’s building up a larger pool of non-white actors. Ads are the bottom-rung of professional acting and by employing a more diverse cast here, it’s giving more people a chance to make it big.
That’s certainly a positive effect, but it’s not a decision driver. To your first point, advertisers follow the market. I think people who are in the majority might feel it’s unrepresentative because ‘most people I know are white/straight/married/able-bodied’ but if you’re an advertiser filming maybe 2 TV ads a year, with one family in each, that’s not an awfully large cast in order to best represent your audience. Do you only include white people because they’re the majority?
We also shouldn’t forget allyship - I see it strongly amongst my younger colleagues. They might be straight/white etc themselves, but they respond positively to companies that embrace diversity. And they are the customers the ad people are often going after.
So naturally, there’s an imbalance - we see more mixed race couples and gay families than might appear in every day life. I’m still not seeing the problem.
It might play a small part, but amongst my larger corporate clients (the sort with TV advertising cash to spend), they are focusing on diversity because it’s good for business - attractive to new customers, and attractive to potential talent.
One other benefit of diversity is that it makes it look like the product is for everyone rather than just one demographic. If the commercial features only people of a single race, people not of that race won’t necessary think the ad is targeted to them. But if the ad has a large variety of races in it, it makes the ad look like it’s targeted to everyone. Even if you don’t see your specific race in the ad, the variety of races makes the ad more inclusive to everyone.