Interracial couples bad choice for Ads
Four years ago, a good friend of mine was featured in a small TV spot, for a regional state in Poland, my friend is a Nigerian guy who was married to a Polish lady, with whom he has a daughter, and used to live in Poland.
When he shared the video, i was happy for him, but somehow i stumbled on the videos few months later, and i was shocked. The audience feedback was sickening, from insulting the guy, to insulting the couple (the woman in the video is not his wife), to asking for the reason of featuring an interracial couple and some more specifically asking why it’s always a black male / white female ads !
The videos had a huge dislike rate, first one having 18 likes and 968 dislikes, the second having 54 likes and 1638 dislikes. As for the comments, the vast majority expressed negative feeling towards the videos.
Sure the video Ad concept was bad, but still, the only reason all this negativity was created was simply due to the featuring of an interracial couple.
Case USA :
All this came back to me when a controversy after Cheerios aired it’s 2014 Superbowl commercial:
The video and another one -followup, conceived as a way to standup to racism- got such a backslash that the advertising company had to disable the youtube comment section and heavily moderate the facebook feedback.
The video being aired in the USA 2013 then 2014, where mixed couples is something much more common than in Europe, one might assume that such a backslash should not take place.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of people reporting that they are of two or more races reached 9 million during the 2010 U.S. census, a 32 percent increase from 2000 to 2010. There were 16 states with 200,000 or more people reporting as more than one race, including half a million or more in California, Texas and New York.
The worst choice :
But the Advertising industry have managed to get some mixed couples ads with minimum controversy, but in each and everyone of these cases, the male was white and the female was black.
Which raises the question is featuring a “black male white female” the worst choice for interracial couple?
The answer seams to be yes, such couples create huge negativity from white men and black women, while black women and white man create much less.
Should commercials and video ads
feature mixed couples ?
I used to have a nice mixed couples forum , we defined mixed couples as having different backgrounds, for example interracial couples (White/Back/Asian/Hispanic) , but also couples with different cultures or originating from different countries.
For the sake of simplicity, i will consider mixed couples when it comes to commercials synonym to interracial couples.
So the question is, should video ads feature mixed couples?
From my internet research, i noticed that mixed couples often go unnoticed or without any controversy unless one of the couples is black.Thus Asian-White , Hispanic-White, Hispanic-Asian does not seam to create negative reactions.
The data i have do not include feedback from places like Africa & Oceania , Brazil, South Africa …
It seams for some reasons, that the negative response is x times the amount of racism towards a certain ethnicity / race in a certain country.
Should we create controversy ?
Very interesting question, if featuring a interracial black M / white F couple creates controversy, should we use it for our advantage ?
Well, controversy is a very important factor in viral advertising, but viral advertising is the poor guy’s hope of getting a nationwide coverage for a fraction of the price.
From this perspective, yes controversy creates interest, and get eyeballs, but if you are not on a small budget, it is better to avoid controversy all together, especially when controversy creates negative feelings towards your brand.
Back to advertising basics!
At the end of the day, the Ad should appeal to the viewer, whether it is emotional or rational, an ad should convey feelings of:
If the video is conveying another set of emotional feelings for many people, the commercial should be put into question. A commercial or Ad should increase the sales not decrease them, thus controversy is a risky business that can backfire sales wise.