Three steps to sincere diversity in advertising: Recent commercials featuring black models/actors show how diversity in advertising is possible

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Note from BW of Brazil: The struggle for black representation in all areas of Brazilian society is an ongoing battle. And even with progress advancing at an ever so slow pace, it is still progress. Advertising is one of the areas which leaves much to be desired in presenting a Brazil’s population as it really is rather than just the (whiter) one that has always held a privileged position and is presented as representative of humanity itself. And although the struggle for representation and against racism should be brought to the fore, one way to address the idea of black people as simply being part of the human family is to simply show them in every day situations of life that have nothing to do with an agenda to combat racism. Black people enjoy each other’s company. Black people love their children. Black people get thirsty. Black people are also doctors. Simple statements of reality. But in order for people to broaden their minds beyond the “place” that society reserves for black people, we must begin to see TV programs, films and commercials that depict such images in a natural, normal manner. Recently, we’ve seen a few ads that do just this so we know that it can be done. We can only hope that we’ll see this momentum continue. 

Three steps to sincere diversity in advertising

By Silvia Nascimento

Image from Julia Plus brand campaign

Being black in Brazil is more, much more than being a person who suffers racism and discrimination on a daily basis. We are parents, mothers, sons, daughters, boyfriends and girlfriends, students, professionals and consumers. And if advertising wants to show that somos todos iguais (we are all equal), it should then show narratives that prove this, documenting in their campaigns, that our day to day life is not full of battles and pangs, in spite of all the real racism that we experience. It is not necessary to question all the time just because they decided to include blacks in the job. And that naturalness (which, by the way, Apple already does very well, as I comment on this article) would be my suggestion, as a first step towards a realistic and sincere publicity. Here are some examples.

First step: Naturality in campaigns

In the commercial below, a black man is thirsty and drinks water. Simple as this.


In this one the mother kisses her son, just as the white ones and Asians do.


This Nescau campaign, with a strong appeal for the empowerment of women through sport, also shows the black woman in a way that we do not usually see in big campaigns.

nescau - meninas fortes
Still from ‘Nescau: Meninas Fortes’ commercial

Nescau: Meninas Fortes

A very special case is this Julia Plus campaign, which is undoubtedly one of the most representative for black women and for overweight women.

Julia Plus
Image from JULIA PLUS Autumn Winter campaign 2017 ad

With beautiful models, and the beautiful “Córrego Rico” song, provided by Ellen Oléria, the campaign video shows how big women are sweet, delicate, loving and sensual.

JULIA PLUS Campanha | Outono Inverno 2017

They represent the most rejected group of women, after trans women, and in this campaign every movement of the hair, walking, the smile of the models, show that they love themselves, each other and therefore also deserve to be loved and desired by others.

All this, without a millimeter of appeal for issues of diversity directly, nor for that of representativeness. The fat and black body is there because it is everywhere.

“The choice of the house also has its foundation, it was built in 1872 in a slave period, I even discovered that that year the only census in the country that registered slavery was released. Today, these women have returned free and enjoying all the space in this house that has already been a scenario of suffering,” explains the creative director of the Mauro Miglioli Junior campaign.

Step two: Diversity also in the creation

The advertiser Fernando Montenegro, of ETNUS | Afroconsumo in his article, published here in Mundo Negro, on advertising and consumption, points out that the lack of blacks in the creative processes of the campaigns is also a big problem. “Those responsible for communication/industrial production are non-black people, who have, as a repertoire, an imaginary well detached from the reality of the public with whom they want to communicate and still feed on the outdated stereotypes about afrodescendentes” (African descendants), explains the researcher.

And it’s no exaggeration. The lack of blacks in the creative process creates things like this:

Controversial Devassa ad from 2011

The Brazilian Ministry of Justice sued Kirin, owner of the Devassa brand, because of an advertisement that ran between 2010 and 2011 and was considered abusive. The ad features an illustration of a black woman in a gala dress with its back open, next to the message “It is by the body that one knows the true negra”

Image from the “Rodovida” campaign of the Ministry of Transport to avoid accidents during Carnival.
Dia do Trabalhador Doméstico
Bombril advertising piece on Facebook generated controversy with this tribute to the Day of the Domestic Worker.
produtos para o cabelo
Straight hair representing the “the best” in the black woman, in this campaign of hair products

The black advertiser will be that strategic and fundamental person in a campaign without stereotypes and misunderstandings. Black women are the least to get married, so a campaign with couples, should could always have a black woman. And this is an example of data that white advertisers probably don’t know.

And it’s no use having the black advertiser to please public opinion. Give her or him the power of decision, listen to what he/she has to say.

Step Three: Advertise in black media

Include in your planning, mídias negras (black media) for the display of your campaigns. Within a digital inclusion project that I am founder, Negros Digitais (Digital Blacks), we have discussion groups and the lack of advertisers and sponsors is a frequent topic. Incredible vehicles do not proceed on for lack of ads.

Youtubers e blogueiros negros
Black YouTubers and bloggers are ignored by advertisers

The agencies appear not to have mapped the rich online media of the black community, in addition to various socio-cultural projects that could carry the brands of their clients. And everyone is missing out on it. Some say that black influencers also earn far less than whites for the same functions, that’s when they are paid.

So what’s the point of campaigning with the black community if it is not advertised on vehicles produced by it?

Diversity in the media, is nothing more is than expanding the visibility of human plurality. Fortunately the black presence has increased in the campaigns, but to what extent the black community is involved in the process or is heard after the release. Let’s dialogue and do better.

Source: Mundo Negro

About Marques Travae 3747 Articles
Marques Travae. For more on the creator and editor of BLACK WOMEN OF BRAZIL, see the interview here.

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