Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Analyzing four "We Like Black People" corporate ads.

(click ads for closer looks)
All four ads were scanned from the July issue of Black Enterprise. First, I must mention that if you're looking for daily coverage of minority/GLBT ad abuses, visit the authority: MultiCultClassics. Now, to the hyperbole.
Top Left—Bank of America, where every one of their customers is a Bank of American. The headline may read "Diversity & Inclusion," but the image says "black person behind bars." Maybe you bozos should have been a little less concerned about working your stupid American flag-like logo into the layout, and a little more concerned with conveying some compassion, like you at least attempted to do with this cutesy black girl stock photo ad. The 108 words of copy couldn't be any more generic or say less.
Top Right—Diversity has a mascot...and he's hungry for flesh of any color. Again, MGM, this is a chance for you to really be inspiring and inclusionary and all you can think of showing is your icon. On the plus side, at least you have a Website setup and didn't include any pointless, pandering copy. On the minus side, you've been running the same ad for years.
Bottom LeftAgain with the logo as hero, American Airlines. Well, at least you didn't put "Diversity" in the headline—which about 95% of these ads do—though it's right there bolded in the subhead. But reading the copy, at least American has a reason other than hollow self-promotion for running this ad in Black Enterprise—they're actually recruiting minority-owned suppliers.
Bottom Right—Oh Kellogg's, did you hold a high school contest to come up with this ad? Do you know what's even more self-aggrandizing than using your logo as the visual? Using one of your products. The "Key Ingredient" is Disingenuousness.
previous Diversity-related ads: TimeWarner hires white mobsters, white SuperHeroes, and everybody in between; JW Marriott—hip without the hop. related: AdAge's White Christmas.


Blogger Harry Pujols said...

The MGM image could read "remembering your tribe in the African jungle". Another adman too concerned in working the company logo into the layout.

4:23 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

Hey CR, what's worse than working on corporate ads? It's like we're mandated to make them as shitty as humanly possible (unless you ask the corporate client, who no doubt loves 'em). And, as a Jr. Copywriter, I have to work on more than my share...

5:05 PM  
Blogger Umlud said...

That Kellogg's ad is horribly Photoshopped. They paid people to put that together? Yeesh!

5:09 PM  
Blogger Thom Dinsdale said...

Its ironic, though a lot of corporations realise that consumers are not idiots they seem to think that their employees and other firms are.

5:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is there any way to do this effectively? This seems like a no-win situation for corporations. Any examples of good ads that illustrate diversity?

5:47 PM  
Blogger copyranter said...

No. So why do they do it? Unless, like with the AA ad, you're actually offering something, save your ad money and put it into developing real "diversity" programs.

8:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Visually, I like the Kelloggs ad best, although the p'shopping is horrid, and the AA ad next. There is a clear idea, unlike the MGM ad, which seems to be a jumble. You're dead on -- the vacuous "we don't hire exclusively WASPs" copy is just so much posturing and wasted resources.

9:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The American Airlines ad is a good piece of copy. I would have approved it against the brief. My issues are with these "diversity" briefs. I just know how it goes down: "Hey, we need an a diversity ad to appease HR. Have a few juniors put something together..." And here we are.

1:09 AM  
Blogger 1Letterman said...

"Diversity has a mascot."

And the mascot regularly EATS diversity in their native land.

9:25 AM  
Blogger HighJive said...

The top three reasons for running diversity ads:

1. Support minority media (you’ll note these ads rarely if ever run in general publications, even general publications with large minority audiences)

2. Your company recently faced a discrimination-related lawsuit (either you’re running the ad as part of the settlement or you’re desperately seeking minority candidates to avoid future litigation)

3. You have to give your minority ad agency something to do

Also, the American Airlines ad is probably older than the MGM ad.

@ anonymous: no to both questions.

2:26 AM  
Blogger Colette said...

BOA requires their employees to attend two Diversity and Inclusion events per year. They take that shit serious, for realz y'all.

10:26 PM  

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