“Separate but Equal” Campaigns?

February 26, 2009 at 12:01 pm | Posted in Campaigns | Leave a comment
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Marketing to minorities: ethical or not?

When I first started thinking about it, I had no qualms with a company creating a separate marketing campaign to target minority groups. The “Me Encanta” campaign from McDonalds seemed harmless enough, translating slogans and catch-phrases into Spanish and featuring Hispanic men, women and children in their advertisments. They have a different culture, so why not celebrate that in a McDonald’s campaign?

Well, the problem lies in the fact that when a company creates a campaign around a specific ethic group, they are in a sense segregating them from the rest of Americans. Is it: They’re Hispanic, they have a different culture than White Americans, they need a different campaign designed for them. Or, is it: Let’s celebrate their culture and speak to them in a way that they will appreciate.

I think there is a very fine line drawn here between celebrating and honoring the diversity in our country and furthering the separation of minority groups from the rest of America. Many students in my class have suggested the use of “culturally senstive professionals” to oversee these sort of campaigns to make sure they are not offensive in any way. During a time when the minority populations of America continue to grow at an increasing rate, I think this is an exceptional idea. Having someone on staff that would be able to communicate which ideas perpetuate stereotypes, and which actually speak to the members of the minority communities would be invaluable.

I’m interested to hear your opinions on this topic. What do you think?


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