Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Colour advertising

Skin colour is one of the most variable external traits in the human race. But it says very little about who you are, except to reveal whether your ancestors needed protection from tropical sun damage or whether they needed to synthesize more vitamin D in the dark north.

So why are we still obsessed with it? And more importantly, why are our ads?

This first one, via Copyranter, is from Spain:

The headline (translated for international awards show judges, I presume) is "Don't let your colours mix". And the outdated joke about sleeping with the gardener (who is, of course, "ethnic") is played out for laughs. I'm not amused.

This next one, also from Copyranter, is an instalment from Johannesburg:

The bench says "non-whites" and is a throwback to the days of Apartheid. Underneath is a guerilla ad for Tropitone sunless bronzing cream. That's right — 46 years of massive human degradation and suffering harnessed to make a joke about fake 'n' baking. Not cool.

Meanwhile, as white south Africans are bronzing, Vaseline is helping men in India lighten their skin colour on Facebook:

I realize that there is a lot of complicated sociology behind cultural interpretations of skin colour, but in my opinion we just need to get the hell over it. This is the 21st Century, a diverse, connected global community. And we don't ever want to go back to the racist world of our great-grandparents:

(via boredpanda)


  1. As much as we want things to change the fact of the matter is that it IS the 21st Century, and this is still going on. Although great strides have been taken to change these views I fear that there will never be a time when racism and discrimination are not part of our world.

    That being said I feel as though we can at least remove it from advertising, and public places. Slang might stay around for a long time, but putting things like this in the eyes of the public is showing that it's okay...which it clearly is not.

    As far as the skin lightening cream is concerned...I have no comment! White people tan to make their skin darker which is "healthy looking" and now people with tan skin want to lighten their complexion?! It's all just a marketing scheme. A tan does not equal a healthy looking person, it just means they tan. And I don't even want to know what skin lightening chemicals do...

    All I can say is WOW!