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Minority Groups and Advertising

Written by: Creative Content Producer, Lumiere Rostick

When it comes to advertising, minority groups as a whole are extremely underrepresented. According to an article on, less than 20 percent of advertising includes minority groups. When minorities are included, its purpose is to specifically target those minorities rather than to be inclusive.

A New York Times article in October 2017 touched on this exact point. To market the new 2018 Toyota Camry, the company decided to release multiple commercials to market to different audiences. Depending on whether Scandal was playing on ABC or if it was a newscast on Telemundo, different versions of the commercial were played featuring different minority actors – African American, Hispanic, Asian American, or one featuring multiple ethnicities.

Targeted marketing has been around for decades. Companies have been aiming their products to specific audiences since businesses began. In the past, products have been marketed towards only one group. With Toyota, they are marketing their cars to anyone and everyone. The fact that they have several commercials with multiple minorities shows how times are starting to change. Toyota is taking strides in the right direction, but overall there is still a major lack of minority representation in media.

Part of the issue is the lack of diversity within the marketing industry. Between 2006 and 2013, the representation of African Americans in the marketing industry actually decreased from 6.1 to 5.85 percent. The people making Toyota commercials want to show that the company is inclusive, but they weren’t quite sure how. Awareness of diversity issues such as these are incredibly important to move forward, but without minority representation behind the scenes, it’s unlikely that representation on screen and in ads will increase. Representation in film, television, and even ads can make a big difference in the lives of young minority individuals.

Nicole Martins from Indiana University said, “There’s this body of research and a term known as ‘symbolic annihilation,’ which is the idea that if you don’t see people like you in the media you consume, you must somehow be unimportant.” Without representation and without seeing people who look like you, it’s easy to feel as if you’re forgotten. It is important for businesses to not let people feel lost in the shadows. If companies claim to be for everyone, it’s their responsibility to show that their products aren’t just for the majority. Let Toyota be an example. They say and they show that anyone can own a Camry.

Sources: ethnicities.html matters_us_58aeae96e4b01406012fe49d

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