As a white male, I suffer a lot of indignities in my daily life. For one thing, banks and mortgage companies and auto dealerships have for years pestered me with offers of low interest loans and other enticements. I am also plagued by incredible social pressure to keep my lawn immaculate and my khakis well-pressed. Because I’m also tall, my coworkers and employers always assume I possess abilities like leadership and common sense — often moving me up the ladder into positions I am not really qualified for.
JUST BECAUSE I’M WHITE DOESN’T MEAN I’M LIKE ALL THE OTHER WHITE PEOPLE!!
But according to Slate, it appears black people may have legitimate gripes as well. This slideshow demonstrates how, in the 1970’s, advertisers first started adding targeted groups to their general market campaigns. The idea was to create advertising collateral that complimented the general campaign, but spoke to black people in a way they would understand.
Or, more specifically, the way a bunch of white advertising executives thought black people would understand, a practice known as “puttin’ hot sauce on it.” This practice, pioneered by “vice” advertisers, became so dominant that soon black neighborhoods were covered in jive-talking ads for everything that’s bad for you:
A recent study uncovered a 1973 document that showed that “Kools made a specific effort to market on buses and subways, since blacks disproportionately rely on public transit in most major cities, in hopes that Kool would ‘cover the top 25 markets in terms of absolute Negroes.’ “
Meanwhile, the inside of every Volvo is rife with ads for mayonnaise and asparagus. And every fourth McDonald’s commercial features a sassy-talkin’ black lady. Won’t we ever come together as one?
Have Mercy! [Slate]