"The advertisement is the most truthful part of a newspaper.

" - Thomas Jefferson (1743 - 1826)

How to Deconstruct an Ad
• What does the ad really say? • What is the distribution of Caucasians to other ethnicities? • How does the ad make you feel? Did any of these advertising techniques have an impact on you or someone you know? Why or why not? • Are the ads trying to reach the same audiences? • Are there people who are invisible in the media? If so, why? • How is the ad constructed? • How is body language and use of space utilized or manipulated? • How accurate is the content? • Who created the message? • What lifestyles, values, and points of view are represented or omitted from the ad?

Quick Advertising Statistics
• • • • • • • Americans are exposed to more advertising than any other population in any other country (Berger, 2000, p. 22). Every person in the United States is exposed to at least 15,000 commercial images per day and will spend three years of her or his life watching TV commercials (Berger, 2000, p. 81). In 1998, the United States spent $200.3 billion on all forms of advertising; all other countries combined spent $218 billion (Berger, 2000, p 81). The United States spends 57% of the world’s advertising spending, yet only makes up 10% of the world population (Berger, 2000, p 80). African Americans represent only 6% of the more than 15,735 images I reviewed for this project. According to the 2000 U.S. Census, 36.4 million, or 12.9 percent of the total population identify as African American (U.S. Census). African Americans are three times more likely to live below the poverty line than whites, and their median income is about 55% that of their white counterparts (National Video Resources, 2001).

"Advertisements are a form of communication, not mere manipulation: they help make sense of the world, defining its differences and essences, filtering through its variety, making claims and constructing images." From NY Times 7/19/03 "New Encyclopedia Gives Cool Hunters A Road Map for Ads" Research conducted by Cierra Olivia Thomas, Doctoral Student, Indiana University Bloomington

RESEARCH ABSTRACT Advertising and Covert Marginalization: An investigation of advertising in popular women’s magazines Advertising is ubiquitous in America. Sociologist Michael Schwalbe (2000) writes “in a society like ours we are forced to rely on what we can see and interpret quickly,” and advertising is the capitalist’s vehicle in which to convey those visual messages (p. 137). Every visual commercial Americans are exposed to is entirely contrived by the advertising industry; every ad is clearly thought out, plotted and planned, and specifically placed where it will have the most (or the least) effect on the consumer. My research of the representation of African American women in print media will demonstrate this trend. African-American women, and people “of color” in general, are considered to be “the minority” in the United States, and this phenomenon is created and perpetuated through the media. Arthur Asa Berger (2000) claims that the $200 billion a year advertising industry exposes every American to nearly 15,000 images per day (p 1, 81). The multitude of commercials that humans are exposed to on a daily basis only serve to bolster and reinforce the marginalization of the Black community through a mass exclusion of images and representations of African-Americans from the mainstream media. This advertising “behavior” began as early as the 1890s with highly derogatory remarks about “colored” people, which were always paired with a product that promised to fix any one of their multitudinous problems. Advertising of the late nineteenth century is blatantly racist both in its remarks and its images, and I will illustrate that this advertising strategy is still covertly in place today. Advertising has not changed in the last century, only the method of marginalization has. Further, advertising does not merely reflect cultural values, interests, and demands, my research will demonstrate that it also shapes those belief systems in America. Through a quantitative analysis of all images in popular women’s magazines I expect to find a low percentage of depictions of “minorities” in comparison to representations of Caucasians. I also expect to find deliberate patterns in the representation of minorities in these highest selling mainstream women’s magazines. Ultimately, African-American women are marginalized by an impossible standard of beauty set by the ad world and reinforced through consumption; Advertising creates and perpetuates a standard based on skin color, just as it did in the late 1800s, and its influence on consumers is the same. Educating people to deconstruct ads and recognize this covert marginalization is my goal. Sources: Berger, A. A. (2000). Ads, Fad, and Consumer Culture: Advertising’s Impact on American Culture. Cumnor Hill, Oxford: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. Schwalbe, M. (1998/2001). The Sociologically Examined Life: Pieces of Conversation. Second Edition. Mountain View, California: Mayfield Publishing Company. Statistics References Cited: American Research Group, Inc. (ARG) (2004). 10 Rules for More Effective Advertising. Obtained from the World Wide Web on January 21, 2005 at: http://www.americanresearchgroup.com/adrules/. Berger, A. A. (2000). Ads, Fad, and Consumer Culture: Advertising’s Impact on American Culture. Cumnor Hill, Oxford: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. Gardner, Marilyn (1999). Body by Madison Avenue. The Christian Science Journal. Obtained from the World Wide Web on January 21, 2005 at: http://www.csmonitor.com/atcsmonitor/specials/women/mirror/mirror112499.html Jhally, S. (Producer). (1995). Slim Hopes: Advertising and the Obsession with Thinness, with Jean Kilbourne [Videotape]. Media Education Foundation. National Video Resources (2001). Race Matters, Media Matters. Obtained from the World Wide Web at: http://www.viewingrace.org/content.php?sec=essay&sub=1. Office of Minority Health (2004). Black or African American Populations. Obtained from the World Wide Web at: http://www.cdc.gov/omh/Populations/BAA/BAA.htm. U.S. Census (2000). The Black Population 2000. U.S. Census Bureau, Census 2000 Brief. Obtained from the World Wide Web at: http://www.census.gov/prod/2001pubs/c2kbr01-5.pdf.

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