This is the fourth installment in a series on why and how people of color are included in advertising aimed primarily at white people.  In the first installment, I argued that people of color are included in such advertising in order to associate the product with a racial stereotype (i.e., hipness, intelligence).  In the second, I showed how people of color can be used to give a product “color” or “flavor.”  And, in the third, I argued that people of color are used to invoke ideas of “hipness,” “modernity,” “progressive” politics and other related ideas.  In this post, I suggest that people of color are used to trigger the idea of human variation itself.

In this first ad the idea that each body is different is illustrated by including women of different fitness levels, ages, and races.

In this ad, Levi’s uses a woman who appears Latina to sell their jeans, which come in various fits because there is “a style for every story.”  The idea is that people are different; not everyone wants the same cut of jeans.

In this Toyota ad, the copy says “For every expression, there’s a Toyota.”  People are unique and so, apparently, are Toyotas.  Race is used to communicate the notion of human diversity.

This is an ad for Playtex bras with half sizes.  The implication is that people’s bodies are more variable than the A, B, C etc sizes suggest, so half sizes accomodate that variety.  I think this ad is particularly interesting because the model is racially ambiguous.  Maybe she’s half Asian, Latina, or white, and she’s being used to sell a product that now comes in half sizes.



Next up: Including people of color so as to suggest that the company is concerned with racial equality.

See the other posts in the series:
(1) Including people of color so as to associate the product with the racial stereotype. 
(2) Including people of color to invoke (literally) the idea of “color” or “flavor.”
(3) Triggering ideas like “hipness,” “modernity,” and “progress.”