There’s been much discussion of late about the dynamic between multicultural marketing agencies vs general market agencies–as the latter begins to expand its offerings, the former is prompted to justify its deeper insight and its superior positioning as an ethnic specific agency.
And even within General Market Agecies there’s discussion about the “profile” of the multicultural marketing Director (see “Three Multicultural Marketing Directors Walk into a Bar” on Adage, found via @MiguelACorona.
On the one hand, Ethnic agencies originally formed in response to growing multicultural markets, but also by amazingly talented people who grew frustrated at not being heard or finding room for advancement because of discrimination.
I’m a believer (along with Jose Villa, who recently wrote about the threat to and future of multicultural marketing agecies on Adage), that as the population continues to diversify that advertising will have to shift to speak to people of different backgrounds. People don’t live in silos, and people of different backgrounds interact in and consume the same messages in the same space, all the time.
But let’s go back to the stereotype (note the two young women coming in at the end–isn’t that the stereotype shunned here? Timid, giggling, shy Asian girls?) and whether ultimately a multicultural agency will always produce bias free, well-targeted ads. Judging from the ad above, created in China for the Chinese market, presumably the answer is no.
It could be conscious – PepsiMax is geared to men, so the target for this ad, the young, hip, Chinese male is well-served. But having a creative team that matches the target audience doesn’t mean you’ll avoid unconscious bias or stereotypes. They’ll just be those of the person creating the ad. From that perspective, having a truly multicultural agency (whether it be a general market agency expanding its offerings or strategic alliances among tartet/ethnic agencies) might actually be better, to create messages that resonate with the largest group.
What targeted ads, created by ethnic agencies, have you seen–how did they fare in avoiding stereotpyes?
(Thanks to adfreak as the source of the ad)