Corporate America Got it Right

April 24, 2010 at 2:00 am (Uncategorized)

Over the past year, my rage at nonprofit America (I guess I can’t say Corporate America, because I’ve never actually worked there) has not resulted in a fatter paycheck, but in a fatter jean size.

I wish I could say all that misplaced and untapped energy manifests itself on the treadmill, but the scene looks more like me in my PJs and a pint of dark chocolate ice cream.

So when I saw this commercial by Kellogg’s I cringed.  First of all, most of us don’t look that cute when we are at home in our PJs.  Second, despite all my weirdness, in this instance, I really fit some MBA marketing team’s perfect stereotype of a  single, just thirty-something woman, in need of her chocolate fix late at night.  (Although I sometimes need it in the morning too.) Ick.

It gets worse.

I actually bought the product today sustaining said MBA marketing team’s paycheck.

And then it got even worse.

Looking up the embarrassing commercial online there was a discussion of racist undertones in the piece.  Here’s an edited version of one comment:

the premise is: white woman goes to fridge for snack and hears a deep overly enunciated shaft like black voice saying ” you know you want me, im so chocalately.” the voice also says ” come on baby”. this commercial harkens back to the black exploitation films of the 70s, when every brother wanted a white woman and vice versa. it seems hard to believe that kelloggs would be this edgy. i think they have offended both blacks and whites. i wonder if sharpton has seen this yet?

While I am sensitive to race relations in America, and even studied 20th century American advertising with regards to race and gender in college, I don’t know if it’s fair to blame Kellogg’s for racism in this instance.  I mean, at the end of the day, it’s not Kellogg’s fault that vanilla is boring and plain and white and chocolate is vibrant and complex and dark and amazing and hits the spot and has more calories.

I strongly agree that media stereotypes can reinforce negative images, but I hope Sharpton is working on bigger issues.  For example, the disgrace of having to “whiten” a resume for equal access to competitive job interviews in this day and age.  Other ethnic and race groups, sadly, have and will continue to do this too.

This commercial is surely playing on the fears of women more than stereotypes of blacks.  It could be implying that if this woman keeps it up she could end up like…horror of horrors…THIS.

(Okay that might be an extreme, but how else could I have worked that recent sketch into my blog?)

Corporate America, you won this round.  Perfectly calling me out on my sins aka nightly routines.  But, the battle continues.  I rage at nonprofit America and have a gym date tomorrow.

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