Check out the most recent addition to our LAMPlatoon arsenal of broken commercials:
Okay, sure. The commercial might be worth a chuckle, but that laugh is triggered by the stereotype that African American men are well-endowed. It also employs the old standby image of the tough, muscular black man, but the hope is that when he turns out to be playful with the white dude, your expectations are flipped and you’ll laugh at the incongruity and surprise. But what if you went into this commercial with no predeterminations about the characters based on their race? The humor would not work, because it relies on commonly-held prejudices about race and sexuality. However, when you look at the commercial from a proactive, critical perspective, and consider why you laugh (assuming you did), you may find a silver lining. You’re reminded that you do have a set of ideas about how most tough black men or lanky white men might act in a given situation, but those expectations aren’t fair. You laughed first because you bought into the stereotype, and you laughed again when it was turned on its head. What does that say to you?
Still, it would be difficult to hold up this commercial as doing some sort of public service. Whether the commercial does more to perpetuate stereotypes or explode them, its purpose is to sell chips. In most cases, people probably laugh and move on without pondering what exactly made them laugh. Such is the nature of a 30-second spot–it has to be quick, yet memorable enough to make you think to buy the product when you’re in the store.
If you’re interested in shining a light on other stereotypes and assumptions you see in commercials, email us today to join LAMPlatoon and take action. Next week, it could be your video in this space!
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