Can't we all just get along? : responses toward ethnic advertising cues as indicators of an American black-brown divide or distinctiveness
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This dissertation reviewed extant literature about McGuire’s distinctiveness theory, the Elaboration Likelihood Model of Persuasion, in-group bias theory, racial identity, race source effects, and cultural cues pertaining to targeting African American and Latino consumer markets. Mexican and African American informants were interviewed after viewing magazine advertisements targeted to the other group to determine if distinctiveness to the other’s images and cultural cues occurred. Observations were also reported from ethnographic excursions across Des Moines, Iowa, a city and state where African Americans and Mexicans are numerical rarities or minorities. Results revealed that the majority of informants spontaneously delivered responses that reflected salience with the other group. In fact, both groups saw themselves as a part of a greater people of color community--extending their ethnic identities. Furthermore, informants exhibited a provisional ethnic backlash against viewing Anglos in product advertisements in their ethnic magazines. However, when ads presented a message about diversity, informants thought Anglo images should be included. Both groups said they valued the use of people of color and socially responsible messages in ads for high involvement and low involvement products, however, these images and cultural cues would not lead to purchases of new brands because informants were weary about wasting money on unfamiliar brands in a stressed economy. Consumers also scanned ads for models’ races, and paid attention to how their ethnic group and other people of color were treated in ads. Also, informants reported discussing racial issues often in social circles. A black-brown racial divide was expressed when there was a perceived scarcity of resources and when one group discussed how they felt the other group perceived their race. Finally, class and having on-going personal relationships with members of the other group affected responses. This study offers many academic, managerial, practitioner, social and political implications and recommendations.