I caught this article the other day in the Washington Post on Asian Americans being stereotyped in ads and many of the studies, observations and comments have mirrored my own, especially in all the Asian American Commercial Watch postings I’ve done:
The stereotypical portrayal reinforces a marketing concept known as the “match up” theory, which states that consumers respond more favorably to products advertised by an actor or spokesperson who “fits” the product. Just as consumers expect cosmetics to be sold by a supermodel or athletic equipment by a professional athlete, in the minds of the U.S. public, Asian Americans are strongly associated with technical know-how, says researcher Jinnie Jinyoung Yoo of the University of Texas.
In reading the article, I was amazed at the same commercials were referenced have been ones I have blogged about, including Staples, Best Buy, as well the Calgon commercial I’ve commented on regarding “Ancient Chinese Secret.”
Apparently research also shows that Asian Americans accept the “model minority” advertising stereotype. Asian Americans were more favorably disposed toward the tech products when they were endorsed by the Asian actors and liked the non-tech products more when they were endorsed by Caucasian actors. This reminded me of some other research that Asian Americans also expected their business leaders to be white.
As I have blogged before, I think that Target has done the best job of highlighting Asian Americans without stereotyping them to traditional roles. While I’d say, DirectTV’s recent commercial with Dat Phan is pretty abysmal. But the BEST commercial ever is of our own benevolent dictator, Ernie, in a MYX TV commercial announcing our partnership with them. Now I’d like to see more Asian Americans – especially males – portrayed as business or political leaders or sex symbols.