Perusing the advertising in popular Black publications, seeking signs of progress...
• Nielsen Media Research, dealing with controversies surrounding its minority measuring methods, is running some peculiar stuff. A print ad states, “We’re not all on the same channel, isn’t that great?” Well, for starters, the headline isn’t great. It can be read in various ways, none of them good. Is Nielsen figuratively not on the same page with the rest of us? And the visual is really messed up, with chopped images of different Black people pieced together in contrived creative fashion. What’s the main message here — Black audiences are diverse? Damn, that’s quite a revelation from the alleged experts. Wonder what Nielsen hopes to accomplish. They’re not asking Black viewers to act on anything. Overall, it looks like a White corporation clumsily responding to issues most folks didn’t even know about. Or care about. Now there’s advertising that folks won’t care about too.
• The Colgate MaxFresh campaign is anything but fresh. The client-appeasing art direction features red-toned photos, gigantic logos integrated into headlines and over-sized product shots. The worst headline in the bunch: Max daddy. The copy follows through with, “When your game is tight, you know it.” Yo, when your ads are shit, you know it. Or maybe you don’t.
• The Gain Scoop Weekly pictures Black women literally fighting over the detergent. The copy claims, “Women go berserk over the scent of Gain.” And you thought the 1992 L.A. riots resulted from the Rodney King verdict.
• Mickey D’s continues to push the limits of good taste on multiple levels.
A salads ad leads with, “I’m feelin’ a little fresh today.” The sassy copy continues, “I don’t want tired old anything in my day. That includes my style, my makeup and my lunch.” Apparently, the stylin’ and profilin’ crowd won’t settle for just any bowl of greens. You go, girl. Go away, that is.
Another ad exhibits a painting of a child in a tree swing. The copy reads:
I once heard a story… “Whatever blooms from the Baobab is given back to the earth, because the mighty tree never forgets its roots.” Like the mighty Baobab, McDonald’s and I will not be moved.
Talk about McPatronizing. The tagline makes a reference to 365 Black. It’s more like 365 Wack, to use an outdated term.
• The awful car advertising is running bumper to bumper.
A hip, urban mob swoons over the 2005 Volvo S40 T5. The subhead announces, “Don’t let the Superfly styling mess with your mind. It’s still built like a Volvo.” The unreadable, endless copy is set in all caps. Somebody please pimp this layout.
The next decent Nissan Infiniti “In Black” advertisement will be the first. Don’t hold your breath.
Chevy Trailblazer proclaims, “With all this, you’ll definitely be all that.” The campaign plays off Chevy’s platform — An American Revolution. Pray the revolution will not be televised.
Mercedes-Benz appears to have taken their general market ad and simply replaced the headline with this Black-friendly gem: “Forget lust. We’re talking pure love jones.” No, you’re talking pure hackneyed garbage.
Confidence. Style, with vision for miles.
Innovative. Sharp, fresh, classic and now.
V-8 strong, professional charm. I’m riding with you.
Look like bad copy for the 2005 Envoy Denali by GMC? Yes, brought to you by Mos Def. Hey, if you’re gonna sell out, go all out.
Finally, to the dozens of companies displaying diversity ads touting the power of a multicultural workforce, it’s time to walk the walk. And while you’re at it, demand your advertising agencies show the same commitment to creating environments reflecting consumers and the country. Or are you merely satisfying corporate objectives of supporting minority media?