Just like reality? [Race, crime, and home security commercials]

I’m sure you’ve seen those Brinks Home Security commercials. You know the ones, where there are one or two people at home, female, usually after dark and there are one or two thugs lurking around outside waiting for the opportune time to either kick the door in or break a window to gain entry to the home. And when they do attempt the break-in, they are scared away by the sound of the alarm. Then “Rick from Brinks” calls and asks, “Are you OK?”, and is “going to send help right now.”

Have you noticed that in every one of those commercials, all of those thugs bent on commiting a home invasion are white guys?

Just like real life, right?? /sarcasm

Oh, this is Great Debates… so, why do you suppose that the ad agency that produced those commercials made the conscious and deliberate decision to cast all white guys as the criminals that you should be afraid of breaking in on you while you are home?


Most of the actors bouncing around Hollywood, willing to take on bit roles are white males, hence most bit roles in anything, including commercials, are white males. For the same reason, most of the extras walking down the street or eating in a restaurant during a typical TV episode are white males.

Next question, please.

Speaking of white guys in commercials…

You know the thugs, criminals, incompetents, dufuses etc that white guys are in commercials?

Why is it then, that when you you get a call from your security alarm company it is from a middle age white male?


Why would you want an incompetent or a dufus to call you? SHouldn’t a nice, competent woman or black male be calling?

Around here that is what would happen 99% of the time. Maybe the commercial was recorded on the other side of town:cool:

Color of skin does not the criminal make;).

And that super hero gets to wear a badge too!

Sure, here ya go…

Remember the public service announcements promoting the Amber Alert system, which ran on the radio about a year or so ago? The audio content of the ad featured someone who was obviously supposed to be a police dispatcher making a radio call for an Amber Alert.

The abducted child was described as a “six-year-old African American girl.”

The dispatcher then described the suspect as a “Caucasian male, 30-35 years old, blue shirt, black jeans, 180 pounds…”.

Was this a reflection of reality?

Next answer, please.

I personally don’t remember any such public service announcement. What’s your point, though? Things on radio television don’t generally reflect reality. For example, people stranded on remote islands generally try to get help, rather than splitting into two tribes with hokey names, carrying around tiki torches, and voting one person off the island each week. Complaining that you saw something on TV that doesn’t reflect reality is like complaining that a fish is wet.

He was wearing a badge? I missed it!

I’d say that the crminals in the Brinks commercials reflect a stereotypical Hollywood “classic criminal” with his black sweatshirt & pants, black leather gloves, ski hat and carrying a crowbar. He looks more ready to heist a jewelry store in a 1970’s movie (or star in Home Alone XXVII) than to rob a suburban home in 2009. Hell, I’m surprised he’s not wearing a striped prison shirt and bandit mask.

I imagine Brinks finds that portrayal of a criminal to be both adequate to suggesting that the house is being robbed while, at the same time, being less emotionally disturbing than showing a more realistic break in (by someone of whatever race). There’s a limit to how much you want to disturb someone before they view your commercial negatively (like those ‘RANDOM CRASH!!’ Volkswagon ads that so many people hated).

I remember that one.

The answer to the OP is simple.

You need a simpleton, retard, thug, criminal, incompetent etc…white male is your choice. The white male is almost always these things in commercials.

However, what confused me about Brinks is why a MIDDLE AGE WHITE MALE is always the one from Brinks that calls? Why would you want a white male to call you for security…they are simpletons! Obviously you need a black male or a woman to be calling…they are sharp, competent folks…so why did Brinks choose a white, middle aged male?

Really curious.

As an aside, I remember one commercial where they showed a black male and a white woman in a business situation. This spiked my curiousity as who was going to be the dufus? Answer…neither. They were both confident and competent. This confused me because you ALWAYS need a dufus…then at the end of the commercial a white man came by the two, tripped and fell on his face.

{also curious what % of their phone people are white, middle aged males}

Um, because it is like real life. I hate to break this to you, “Paleface” old pal, but in fact, the majority of suspects who are arrested for burglary in this country are white guys.

From Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Stats Online, 2006 (pdf):

In suburban areas, which I imagine is where the Brinks-ad homes are supposed to be located, the percentage of whites among suspects arrested for burglary jumps to 75.9%.

Now of course, it’s not reflective of reality to show only white burglars in commercials; to be statistically representative, about 1/4 to 1/3 of the perps ought to be black.

However, the conclusion that you seem to be subtly trying to prod us toward—namely, that the use of white actors to depict burglars in commercials must be mere blatant pandering to political correctness because in “reality”, most burglars are black—is not supported by the data.

This smells right.



Of course they are, that’s because white people are the majority.

As for the Amber Alert PSAs, how many instances do you recall, without going back to a past era that no longer exists, as L.G. Butts, Ph.D. so cleverly did, where a white guy was a suspect in the abduction of an adolescent African American girl?

Now, I admit, I have no official training in marketing, but if I were put in charge of producing an ad for a home security system, I would want the ad to be even more emotionally disturbing than a realistic break in.

From what I see, the exaggeration of need seems to be a major component of advertising.

Yesterday no longer exists. What is your arbitrary cutoff poiint?

No. It was a television commercial.

That said, let’s skip ahead a little, if we can: Paleface, it’s your belief that the media is lying and distorting reality by portraying white people as sometime burglars and kidnappers when they “should” be showing African-Americans as criminals because they are more likely to be criminals, right? It’s a liberal media conspiracy against white people, more or less, yes?

If so, your theory and your interpretation of the criminal population are both bullshit.

Well, since advertising is the topic, I would say that you would not go back to an era that is not pertinent to the target audience. As an example, you don’t see many ads for buggy whips today. But if sending a message was the real intent, an ad for buggy whips could be produced with the actors dressed as klansmen.

Yeah; glad we settled that. So . . . is there some sort of point you were interested in making? If so, now would be a good time.

I rather suspect it’s something about a supposed conspiracy against the white man to keep him down. But I’m sure we all knew that from the start.