What bugs me here is these people not getting the implications of the very things they themselves are saying.
Actors from black, Asian or other ethnic minority groups appeared in only 5% of the almost 35,000 TV ads screened in the UK last year, according to a report.
The report by Clearcast, the body that vets all commercials before they are broadcast, found that TV advertising is \”drastically under-representing\” the ethnic minority groups. Black, Asian and those of other ethnic minorities account for about 13% of the UK population.
Clearcast\’s report, which marks the first in-depth look at the racial makeup of UK television advertising, found that of the total of 34,499 commercials given the green light last year just 1,845, or 5.3%, used actors from a non-white background.
OK, maybe that\’s very naughty, terrible, or who gives a shit.
But then they say:
\”People react better to advertising when they see themselves reflected in it,\” said Saraf. \”I would therefore advise [advertisers] to take a better look at who their customers are and hope that these figures will become markedly more representative over the coming years.\”
Well quite. 87% of potential customers are slightly pinkish so why are we surprised that most of those in the ads reflect this reality of the audience?
Note that we\’re talking about TV ads here, you know, things broadcast to the wider population. Where there is greater segmentation of the audience along racial or ethnic lines none of us are in the least surprised that advertising is similarly specific. The Voice and Weekly Gleaner will have more Afro-Caribbean peeps in ads, London\’s Deccan News (if such a title exists) is likely to have South Asian models demonstrating the skin lighteners.
As I say, it\’s not that these fools are the usual race baiters that annoys me, it\’s that they aren\’t taking in the implications of the very things that they themselves are saying. When you\’ve got broadcast advertising, something of a hit and miss proposition in the first place, of course you\’re going to go for the lowest common denominator. If 87% of the potential customer base is pink then you\’re going to use pink actors.
With the potential exception of people who are sufficiently famous to not have \”a race\”. Which is where Lenny Henry comes in. He\’s Lenny Henry, not some pink/black/slant eye/Hindoo with which the audience is supposed to see itself reflected.