June 12, 2018

By Gonzalo López Martí - Creative director/ LMMiami.com

  • As I said in the first installment of this piece last week, casting “regular folk” in advertising has been tried repeatedly with spotty results at best.
  • When I say “regular folk” I mean “racially realistic”.
  • A CMO who was in charge of a huge consumer packaged goods brand in a large Latin American country told me that she’d tried using a working class non-European looking cast once.
  • You know, a cast reflective in appearance of the vast majority of individuals that actually consume packaged goods in a given Latin American nation.
  • Interviewees at focus groups were ambivalent at best.
  • Some of them simply hated it.
  • They didn’t seem to like seeing themselves on the screen (!)
  • Their opinions were oblique though, they never showed their true colors (pun intended).
  • Self-loathing?
  • Self-sabotaging?
  • Aspirational folly?
  • Malinchismo?*
  • Question is, is it possible that we are so brainwashed by colonialism and other assorted bogeymen that we are being racist against ourselves?
  • Are we a bunch of unwitting Uncle Toms?
  • Is it a conspiracy to oppress minorities and the working classes?
  • Nonsense.
  • Procter & Gamble, or any large marketer for that matter, would love for everyone to buy more of their products.
  • Why would they restrict their market reach to a certain niche of ethnicity, gender or income?
  • It makes no economic sense whatsoever.
  • However, for some inexplicable reason, the masses want “aspirational”.
  • That is, Euro-looking casts.
  • Not only in ads.
  • When was the last time you saw a telenovela or newscast that truly reflects the ethnicity of its viewing audience?
  • Hold the hate mail.
  • Don’t lynch me on a public square.
  • Don’t troll me on social media.
  • I’m just the messenger.
  • Apologies if I offended your brittle feelings.
  • I’m just trying to understand this very odd phenomenon.
  • Maybe it is not self-loathing.
  • Maybe it is just escapism: maybe non-European looking working class folk don’t want to be reminded by the media once and again that we got the short end of the stick.**
  • Remember that old Jewish joke:
  • Rabbi Altmann and his secretary were sitting in a coffeehouse in Berlin in 1935. "Herr Altmann," said his secretary, "I notice you're reading Der Stürmer, a Nazi libel sheet! Are you some kind of masochist, or, God forbid, a self-hating Jew?"
  • "On the contrary, Frau Epstein. I used to buy the Jewish papers and all I read about were pogroms, riots in Palestine and assimilation in America. But now in Der Stürmer I read that the Jews control all the banks, that we dominate in the arts and that we're on the verge of taking over the entire world. It makes me feel a whole lot better!"
  • Then again: what’s the definition of European in 2018?
  • Go ahead, take a look at a Panini soccer card album.
  • Check out the lineups of the European teams of the World Cup.
  • Whites are the minority.
  • The pecking order is changing.
  • Faster than we think.
  • It looks like, finally, ethnic minorities are overcoming the inferiority complex and low self-esteem that has bogged us down for centuries (to put it somehow).
  • Meantime, in Hispanic culture, we might still be lagging a bit in the Uncle Tom chapter.
  • Reggaetton and other intrinsically AfroLatin rythms are ruled by Maluma and Pittbull.
  • Yup, whiteys.
  • I rest my case.

*Are you a malinche? READ: http://hispanicad.com/agency/business/are-you-malinche
**I owe you my 23andMe and Ancestry.com reports to prove that I am in fact a member of an ethnic minoruty. But I’ll share them with you guys as it shows up in my in-box. Word.

 

 

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