Thursday, November 03, 2005
Racism: How Bad Is It in the USA?
Along the thoughts I've had before concerning blacks in advertisements, racism in America must not be that bad. The field I work in is marketing research. Most of the day I program surveys for the Internet and phone for companies interested in knowing what products the public would like to have, what would sell a product, the level of customer satisfaction, etc. Billions are spent annually on such research. My company has highly respected experts in statistical analysis, survey design, etc. in order to conduct this research. Probably 10% of our full-time employees have Phd's, post graduate degrees are common.
Companies take marketing research seriously. Usually large successful companies send products to the market with accurate estimations of the products level of success. Similarly, advertising campaigns are carefully planned and researched. Companies will often test TV commercials via Internet and will track the impact of commercials also.
When I see a TV commercial or print advertising with a black person or black people, I feel certain that the advertiser knows that the advertising and the people in the ad will have a positive impact. Allstate Insurance, Hanes, Phillips Milk of Magnesia all primarily use blacks in their ads. Advertisers commonly use blacks in groups, etc. which could easily be interpreted as trying to appeal to a broader base, but it goes beyond that.
Demographically, companies usually shoot for 80% white, 10% black, and 10 Hispanic and others. Would companies risk alienating 80% of their market to draw in the other 10 or 20%? I doubt it. These companies know through their research that the typical white American has a positive perception of the blacks in their advertising. This is a great sign that racism exists to a much less greater degree in this country than many would have us believe.
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