Appreciation or Just Representation: A Look at Multicultural Portrayals in Advertising

Open Access
Desjardins, Grace Alison
Area of Honors:
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Jennifer Chang Coupland, Thesis Supervisor
  • Jennifer Chang Coupland, Honors Advisor
  • Duncan King-Hoi Fong, Faculty Reader
  • Multicultural
  • Advertising
As minorities in the United States increasingly represent a larger portion of the population, it is critical that they feel included in advertising. If they are not, marketers run the risk of alienating them. Marketers can attempt to reach consumers by incorporating strategies of in-group bias and accommodation. In order to do so, brands can choose to emphasize varying levels of mainstream and subcultural values. These values can be portrayed through numerous elements of the advertisements. This study breaks down those elements and categorizes commercials according to a perceptual framework. Risks and benefits of these framework strategies are then outlined.