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Created Equal: Increasing representation of racial equality in the mass media March 8, 2009

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When the major television networks released their new seasons of top programming this winter, many reviewers instantly noticed more racial diversity in the castsTodd Lewan of the Associated Press recently wrote about a similar trend in advertising.  According to Lewan, whereas ethnic minorities have been completely absent in most advertising for decades, people of all races are now seen as mingling in their daily lives. The examples he cites, some seen in the videos below, include E TRADE’s talking baby commercials with a white baby and his African American friend, Pepsi’s “Refresh Anthem” which includes Bob Dylan and Will.i.am, and Holiday Inn Express’s commercials with coworkers representing many ethnicities hitting on a woman.

Discussion Questions:

1.  Has the election of a black president in the United States transformed the advertising industry, or are there other reasons for this evolution?

2.  How might have changing demographics in America influenced advertisers to include more racial diversity in their ads?

3.  How has the “buying power” of certain minority groups changed in America, and how might this explain the more inclusive nature of advertising?

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