Target Marketing of Minorities

by Marugeist

One of the things that have struck my mind in the past few years is the amount of junk television that the media offers, and consequently, what people are mentally and then digestionally fed by. Most of the programs that today T.V and other means of communication offer, are to my opinion Junk entertainment. Even more junky are the food commercials the media promotes to the different ethnic or racial groups accordingly to their “needs” through a technique called “Target Marketing” A brief study conducted my the http:// Studies Group organization point out, how this marketing techniques are used to secure minority groups, namely Hispanics and African Americans, into buying their junk food products for life, and then pass it to their next generations. Although, the marketing media claims they are just giving people what they want, BMSG criticizes them for promoting and selling them junk food loaded with sugar, sodium and high fat foods. Thus, giving an increased number of diabetes, high cholesterol and obesity to those minority communities that already have these health problems. Moreover, they try to protect lower income people from being victims of such media racial targeting. For example, an advertisement by subway that was posted in their website read the following:

Home of da $5 footlong five dollar foot longs everyday. Now that’s something to holla about.

Which included this picture of Abraham Lincoln wearing a bandana, sunglasses and shiny earrings.

Just as poor housing, schools, jobs and far reaching healthier food options in low income communities, BMSG claims that” Junk food target marketing is one of the bars on the “birdcage of structural racism”. Each bar being a social issue such as the ones I named above, which ultimately form what they call the “birdcage of structural racism” Advertisements like these try to keep minorities as junk food consumers through the power of the media without concern of their needs, rather of their  food addictions and poor diets, which only makes their community’s health worse. BMSG also reports that  “Low income, African-American, and mixed-race neighborhoods have more fast food restaurants than white or high-income neighborhoods” which they say does not help decrease their health problems such as youth obesity, but increases and perpetuates a culture of consumerism, disease and dependency of junk unhealthy food. All this is possible through what the marketing forces call the four Ps: Products, Places, Prices, and Promotions. In this case, Products being the high addicting ones, particularly those containing high amounts of sugar such as Sodas. Places, being targeted Latino and African American communities. Prices something such as the McDonalds dollar menu, which ensures their economy to be stable even in times of an economic crisis like the one we are going through while, at the same time ensuring that even poor customers are able to afford and keep buying their cheap unhealthy food and sodas. Finally, Promotions such as the Subway advertisement, aimed at African American communities, as to trying to appeal to this group the best way possible and thus encourage their consumption towards a specific product.

The conclusion of these brief study and my own observations, simply highlight the fact that food companies empowered by the media, do not care at all about what really the public needs, but what they could sell them in a continuous and great amounts while, overlooking the publics needs and amplifying theirs, by exploiting the different cultural identities by means of the media’s use of ethnic symbols, linguistic styles and music that links minorities to certain products.


8 responses

  1. PattyCakes says:

    Your post actually reminds me of this article that I read last year, in which USA Today reports that KFC has a new marketing technique which is rooted at Spalding University in Louisville, K.Y. The fast-food chain, KFC has been recruiting college women to pass out coupons while wearing fitted sweatpants with the words “Double Down” displayed across their backsides. The NOW (National Organization of Women responded to the marketing campaign. “It’s so obnoxious to once again be using women’s bodies to sell fundamentally unhealthy products,” said Terry O’Neill, president of the National Organization for Women in the USA Today article.
    Can anyone tell me where are the men in this new marketing campaign?

  2. PattyCakes says:

    This situation with advertisement is absurd because there are discriminations based on sex, age, attractiveness and physical appearance

  3. jaredb says:

    Unfortunately advertising is only a small component of corporations negative influence on health. Corporations take advantage of tax breaks similar to the New Market Tax Credit to move fast food chain restaurants into current food deserts, many of these neighborhoods are poor inner city areas inhabited predominantly by blacks and latinos. Target Marketing and tax incentives strengthen financial benefit of corporations in an exponential manner.

    Increasing capital flow in low-income communities does not necessarily put capital into the hands of residents, and frequently has the opposite affect. I would argue that investment capital will most likely not recirculate in the local economy, it will leave the community and benefit the CEOs and CFOs of large corporations.

    Why can’t ads be the way they used to be? A few old ladies talking about big buns.

  4. sarahatt says:

    It is sad how the media advertises about junk food and how all these “junk food” places surround us. For example, if someone is walking down the street and the first thing they see is KFC, or Burger King, they get immediate cravings for these types of food so they will automatically go and purchase a meal from the menu, and sadly this all leads to obesity and a unhealthy lifestyle.

  5. This is unfortunate that many businesses (especially fast-foods) target on minority people. I would say, not all but many minorities are not in high social class and hence, cannot afford products that are considered to be healthy. And thus, this creates an advantage for some businesses to advertise their products by praising and lowering their prices. Of course, people in need or those who cannot afford a better living, would go for the cheap price. And I don’t think businesses would even care much if their products is healthy or not, as long as their business is progressing and growing.

  6. Sharon says:

    I find this a very interesting post. I definitely agree that food companies are more interested in how much money they can make. They are not too interested in the well-being of the consumer. Its all about money that’s ultimately what it comes down to and power. They are going to advertise to the appropriate audiences in a way that will catch their attention. But I think all companies are like this not only food companies they target all kinds of people. They just know what kind of advertisements to use to make their products appeal to this specific audiences. But it is a huge influence on bad health choices. Especially among kids in our society today they watch alot of television and companies make their product look appealing so kids will run to tell their parents that they want to eat this. Its an unfortunate because of how much influence the media has on our children it makes it harder to pass on healthy choices.

  7. kiarabrady says:

    I would suggest that race isn’t as much of an issue for target marketing as social economic status is. I guess you can argue what race is seen in the upper middle class, etc… but I completely agree with target marketing being a problem. I have seen local markets trying to develop further in more urbanized sectors of the city but that is most certainly not enough. I often wonder what affects gentrification will have on things like this. I live in east harlem and it is now home to at least 5 vegan friendly restaurants which I assure you was not there 5 years ago. The study is correct when it says the capital doesn’t care about the consumer but about the consumption. I hope the next time you walk past a Mcd’s you think what does this corporation represent? Not me!