The newest ad campaign from Intel focuses less on their products — a microprocessor is always less sexy to market than an MP3 with shiny metallic surfaces and rounded corners anyway — and more on the engineers building their products. Take this latest global campaign with Ajay Bhatt, the creator of the USB port and current Intel Fellow and Chief Client Architect of their Mobile Platforms Group.
Except for one thing; that’s not Ajay Bhatt in their commercial; that’s an actor. And if you compare the engineer rock star to the real Ajay Bhatt, the actor looks — hmm, what’s the word we’re looking for, here? He looks more academic. And by academic, I mean “a stereotype of an Indian Engineer.”
According to Bhatt himself, he shrugs off not being part of the commercial due to “being busy,” but he’s an Intel Fellow, and he could be simply toeing the company line or agreeing to PR’s demands that a stereotypical Indian engineer should be playing the part. And if the actor who played him had classically good looks, Asian American blogs would rip the commercial apart for making him look like something he obviously isn’t. So what’s worse — that, or playing up to a stereotypical — and ultimately racialized — stereotype?