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Let’s Talk About Black Overrepresentation in Advertising

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Studies have shown that Black people are often overrepresented in certain types of advertisements. Yet, they’re underrepresented or absent in others. This phenomenon, known as Black overrepresentation in advertising, has long been an issue of concern to Black people. It has dire consequences on how other people perceive and treat them in society.

This article delves into the world of Black overrepresentation in advertising. It takes a closer look at the various forms it takes and the different perspectives on its impact. From the images we see on billboards to the commercials we watch on TV, we’ll unpack the implications of this critical issue on the entire Black community and society.

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Understanding the Impact of Black Overrepresentation in Advertising 

Black overrepresentation in advertising is a complex and multifaceted issue. It has been the subject of much debate in recent years. This trend has been happening in United States America, UK, and other big economies as well.

Journal of Advertising found that Black actors were more likely to be depicted in ads for alcohol, tobacco, and fast food. Therefore are underrepresented in ads for personal care and household products.

Source: Freepik

Another study by the University of Georgia revealed that while Black people were more likely to be shown in sports, music, and entertainment ads, black representation in advertisements for financial services, education, and healthcare is low.

The overrepresentation of African Americans in certain types of advertising can perpetuate harmful ethnicity and contribute to the marginalization of Black people in society.

For example, the frequent portrayal of Black people in alcohol and tobacco advertisements may contribute to the negative perception of Black people as more likely to engage in unhealthy behaviors

Mind you, either gender experience this.

Source: Freepik

There is a limited representation of Black people in ads for personal care and household products. As a result, it may reinforce the idea that black people should have no interest or intentions of these products.

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Perspectives on Black Overrepresentation 

The issue of Black overrepresentation in advertising is complex and multifaceted, with multiple perspectives. Some believe this type of representation is positive and helps to promote diversity and inclusion. However, others argue that it reinforces harmful stereotypes and perpetuates the idea that black population is only valuable for its commercial appeal.

One such perspective is that Black overrepresentation in advertising is an intentional act meant to anger and insult black people living in urban communities. Portrayal of blacks in these advertisements often depict them in a way that’s not representative of the lived experiences of many Black audiences.

These depictions are nothing but a form of “aspirational advertising” meant to appeal to the ideals and aspirations of the target audience used in American advertising.

Source: Freepik

Another perspective on Black overrepresentation in advertising is that it reinforces harmful stereotypes about Black people. This is because many advertisements depict Black people in ways consistent with negative stereotypes.

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For instance, portraying Black characters especially men as criminals and Black women as overly sexualized objects. Such representations give a sentiment that Black people are dangerous, criminal, or hypersexualized and cause further discrimination and marginalization.

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Efforts to address Black Overrepresentation 

There have been several efforts to address Black Americans overrepresentation in advertising. To increase the representation of diverse groups in the advertising industry, the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) launched the Multicultural Advertising Internship Program (MAIP) in 2016. The program provides internships and job opportunities for minority students in the advertising, marketing, and media industry.

Source: Freepik

Additionally, the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF) has developed guidelines and insights for advertisers and advertising agencies to follow to promote diversity and inclusivity in their campaigns. The shift is on having representation of diverse groups in ads, the use of inclusive language, and the avoidance of stereotypes.

Despite these efforts, the representation of Black man in advertising remains a concern. A report by the ANA found that while there’s progress in increasing diversity in the advertising industry, there is still a lack of representation of Black people at the executive level.

This underrepresentation may restrict Black people’s ability to affect how the media portrays their communities in advertising.

In conclusion, Black overrepresentation in advertising is a pervasive issue. While some argue that this type of representation is positive and promotes diversity and inclusion, it is evident that it reinforces harmful stereotypes and fights racial justice. 

Black overrepresentation in advertising has been common in TV commercials and social media and it’s a cry for social justice. Viewers wants to see TV advertisements addressing social issues without racial discrimination. Whether its Asians, Latinos, white men or black actors, let the visual representations be anti-racist.

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James Essiet
James Essiet
I love creating.


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