Turn on the TV or YouTube your favorite clip. Chances are you will encounter a commercial. What is the commercial advertising? Is it effective? Who is in the commercial? What language is it in? Some of these questions seem basic and easy enough to answer. My next question is how many commercials produce the same answers to those questions?
While researching for a project, I looked into some well-known companies to observe their current campaigns targeting various markets within the US. For one particular company, I was astonished at how difficult it was to find ads aimed at Hispanics living in America. Most of the ads featured a white American family. Considering that the Hispanic market in the US makes up nearly a trillion dollars in spending every year and accounts for over 16% of the population (52 million people), you could imagine how confused I was that my search was turning up nothing.
Marketing to the general public is not a problem, but I felt a sense of sadness that there are ethnic markets that are rarely targeted in the US. To think that ad agencies for large companies could simply ignore these markets or give them background roles in the year 2014 is odd. Then I add the question, is this company spurred by profit or are they simply unaware of the power of other ethnic markets?
Here at Sunrise Seagull® Productions every culture matters. Our specialty is working with clients who have a product for an ethnic market within the US, such as Vietnamese, Greek, Chinese, Spanish, or South Asian Indian (etc). We spend our time developing a story for each brand that reaches their market, including the general market. Each market is special and they all deserve equal efforts by companies seeking relationship development with consumers across ethnic markets.
My hope for advertising is that it will migrate to a “we” mentality. Advertisements should target all of us, not one specific group, because no matter where we live, we live in a world filled with thousands of languages, cultures, and many different colors of skin. Our needs should be visible and advertisements should reflect that even if we all live differently. We have made a lot of progress over the years, but we still have a long road to travel.
At the end of the day, you may ignore commercials or groan when they come on because they act as a barrier between you and your YouTube clip, but I challenge you to pay attention to the next commercial you watch. See if you can find different answers to the questions I have posed, but make sure to answer one final one, are you being represented equally?
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