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Dianne Schmidley

Leslie, I am not as "in touch" with advertising today as I once was, but I know that African-Americans have been an important marketing segment since at least the early 1980s when automated census data and large computers became widely available in the private sector. Only a foolish marketer would ignore customers, and presumeably, those that do are soon out of business.

Women have been important in marketing circles since before marketers discovered they were involved in most major household purchases.

One of the important discoveries every business person learns sooner or later is that age, income, and sex are the most important determinants of what folks will buy. Like it or not, income is a proxity for most market behavior.

These days, I see many advertisements for products used by older folks, probably because the baby boom has reached the "twilight" years.

Dianne Schmidley

Sorry I called you Leslie. I know you are like me in that you do not use your first name.


Of course I have a story about Sunny D and P&G. I worked in the food and beverage division (I was on Folgers) and Sunny Delight was struggling in the category because consumers couldn't figure out if it was actually real orange juice (like Tropicana) or ore like an orange fruit drink (like Hi-C). For the record it is like a thick Hi-C - but given this confusion and the fact that it was much less expensive than Tropicana a Spanish language commercial targeting Hispanics was developed to intimate that Sunny D WAS just like Tropicana only cheaper.

I use this example in my marketing classes as the ethical challenges one faces. But one of the reasons I believe Proctor was willing to move forward was the fact that most Americans could not understand the commercials and thus would not be able to react and to inform the Hispanic population of the rouse. And by the way to add insult to injury, while shooting a Print ad something happened to the model so the agency called my friend who is a light skinned African American and worked on another brand at Procter to represent the young Hispanic mother - denoted by the darkening of her eyebrows, the application of bright red lipstick and the fluffing up her hair - instant Hispanic - see all minorities are interchangable :)!

Salvatore DeGennaro

This analysis of race in the commercials is very interesting and there is no doubt that commercials in the past were not so politically correct. However, I suppose we could make the same argument about age group, physical fitness level, and all kinds of comparisons. Are/were these companies strictly being racist in their commercials or are they simply aiming at their primary market? When we see commercials for sports drinks we usually see younger and physically fit people working out and drinking these beverages. Does that mean the company is discriminating against older or out of shape people? Actually, this raises another issue in these commercials: many of them offer an idealized picture that will appeal to the consumer of the product. So, maybe race would be an interesting study concerning that aspect of corporate marketing.

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