My son enjoyed watching this “multicultural” advertisement for the msi notebook x-series when this post first published in 2009. Out of the blue today he asked to see it again, by name, apparently not because he suddenly took an interest in multicultural marketing, but he remembered there was something about butts (note to self for future topics when marketing to 9 year olds).
But it begs the question–what makes an ad multicultural? Is it multicultural simply because there are white people and people of color in the ad? Or does there need to be a deeper connection to context to make it multicultural? Or is is based on the targeted audience for the ad? (In which case this ad is probably perfectly skewed to young, college aged kids, making parents all around cringe as they think of how their children are using the new computers just sent off with their children to college).
But back to the ad…
In this case, the players seem to be equals and all are ‘representing themselves.’ There is no outside writer dictating that they act/behave in a certain way. (Although I do wonder if I would have felt the same if it was the African-American young man who was playing the catcher…essentially the “butt” of the joke.) They presumably are three crazy friends who really like each other, and who are trying to win a free trip to the Great Barrier Reef, by creating an “extreme crazy video with msi-notebook.”
Multicultural marketing consciously includes people of all backgrounds to appeal to a broader market, but often fails by relying on stereotype or setting up prejudicial hierarchies in the interactions among the players.
Perhaps marketers/copywriters could benefit from a lesson in anthropology—a little ethnography to better observe how people of different backgrounds really interact in the real world. Would real life support or defy the stereotypes?