Diana Rivers; Direct TV Commercial: Is Art Imitating Life…

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(ThyBlackMan.com) Is it me, or is this a throw back to the days when those cheesy IO Digital Cable Reggaeton commercials were on television. When I first saw one of those commercials, I felt uncomfortable and wondered why a company that operates in communities heavily populated with Latino folk would think that the people would like to see a commercial like that. Was it satire? Not so sure. Was it people outside of the community speaking on their behalf? Probably. Consequently, the Latino community was outraged, did something about it and those ads were pulled faster than when major media outlets cut to a commercial break during Janet Jackson’s Superbowl wardrobe malfunction.

However, I can’t help but wonder if this is the same thing within our community? Do we care what companies think of us? Do we expect them to  depict us in a certain way? Are we unified enough to do something about it? Do we agree this is what it’s like to be a member within the African-American community. Or is this an exaggerated outlier that is being used as a representative of the whole?

The commercial itself didn’t really bother me, but what got my attention was that maybe this is how we are being perceived. Think about all the other commercials that depict other cultures. They are marketably different from ours and are often humorous. Recently, I saw a commercial about a wife making dinner for her husband and how she was secretly doing this to convince him to take dance lessons. I thought this was brilliant! In fifteen seconds it captured the essence of their culture, sprinkled some humor on a common issue amongst married couples and finished by keenly advertising their product. Why can’t we get that? Aren’t we a naturally comedic culture? Aren’t there funny ways to shed light on our issues that would allow companies to help us identify with their brands and thus become loyal customers?

I don’t think the media is evil or solely responsible for how African-Americans are perceived in advertisements. I think that it’s time to really consider how to inject how we should be depicted into media outlets instead of waiting to see how they will advertise for and to us. It’s no longer sufficient to complain about advertisements once they are sent to the masses, but to be at the table consulting with companies before it ever gets their stamp of approval to be disseminated to society. Reactionary methods are obsolete and proactive methods are the new weapon of choice. In this day and age of social media, the consumer has a stronger voice than they ever did before, so we have the power to tell companies when they make or miss the mark when depicting our community and we should use this to our advantage.


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Staff Writer; Diana Rivers

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