From The BVX — After ignoring black consumers for decades, companies have realized that urban marketing is smart business. But while we love seeing black folks in media, it defeats the purpose if they die during the opening credits, are complete buffoons or otherwise reinforce negative African American stereotypes.
As a group, blacks possess about $1 trillion in buying power, and we’re inclined to spend our hard-earned money with companies that treat our community with respect. A lot of companies get it; for too many others, though, it still hasn’t seeped in. Take Toyota’s infamous “gold tooth” ad as proof that there are still way too many television commercials featuring African Africans that reflect the worst about black culture. Here are a few that really rub us the wrong way.
1. Annie, the Chicken Mammy
We could chuckle at Paula Jai Parker and Dave Chappelle’s ‘Chicken Ho’ in the birdbrained ‘Woo’ because of the unlikelihood that any white person on the planet would ever see that film. But the Popeye’s Chicken ad campaign featuring a new-growth-scratching sassy black woman who introduces herself as Annie “the Chicken Queen” is but a biscuit and strawberry soda away from being a full-on minstrel show.
2. Mandingo Meets Cujo Meets Godzilla
No, it’s not the story Glenn Beck tells his children to make them eat their broccoli. This ad is part of Old Spice’s shirtless black man marketing campaign starring Terry Crews (‘Everybody Hates Chris’ and one of them ‘Friday’ movies). A stark contrast to his suave counterpart, Crews simply scares white people. Bigger than a building, flexing every muscle and clad in just some boxer briefs, the brute delivers a roundhouse kick to a skyscraper that causes an explosion. Be afraid. Be very afraid.
3. The Magic Negro
Over the years, the Pine Sol lady whose real name is Diane Amos, has levitated and awakened people from comas as she delivered her catchphrase “That’s the power of Pine Sol, baby.” In the most recent TV spot, titled ‘Visitor,’ Pine Soul Sister No. 1 drives along the shore and arrives at her lavish mansion where she follows a trail of rose petals to a boudoir where she finds… a black man mopping the floor. Go figure.