In evaluating multicultural marketing, it’s good to look at who’s doing what (is the black kid the basketball player? The older adult technologically illiterate? The Latina dancing?), or to keep an eye on ‘agency’ (who has the power–is one group making fun of another, is the group represented the way it would represent itself?)
But sometimes ads go over the edge and there’s the immediate “eeww factor”…you watch an ad, and at the end you scrunch your nose and think “eeww”(Like Wilkinson Sword Bikini “Mow the Lawn” Ad–features women from a variety of cultural backgrounds…but EEWWW!)
But this time it’s about the kgb 542542 ads, which promote a texting service to get answers to any question you might have. Both Thea Lim at Racialicious and David Gianatasio at Adweek have reviewed the Yak Hair Weave Episode–the former leading into a discussion about racism and black hair, the latter pointing out that it’s just a bad ad, but forgoing wit for banality.
Even the first ‘episode’ immediately predicts a destiny of mediocrity, as a deeper story gets distracted and trapped in two dimensional characters.
I know it’s sometimes more fun to bash “the man” than to protect him, but as my husband likes to point out, “men have feelings, too,” and this portrait of the chauvinist, entitled, ignorant, white privileged ‘leader’ is gross too. He actually asks the new agent to define ‘bootylicious’ as part of the interview process. Ewww.
The thing is, the concept for this campaign by The Brooklyn Brothers is good–action, suspense, potential for clever (you can check out all of the ads, save the Yak Hair Weave which may have, to their credit, been pulled, at www.kgb.com).
But the quick reversion to stereotypes blocks the road to great in its tracks.