Black People : Decoding Racism in Advertising


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Peace and Love Destee Family!

Have you ever watched Television, or saw a print ad-and felt something was extremely wrong, even Racist, but you just couldn't put your finger on it? Or maybe you could, but others just couldn't see it? Well, thankfully you are not alone.

All advertising giants place messages in their ads or commercials. Messages that play on primative human emotions. The use of symbols, key words, key situations, and key characters all help to keep certain kinds of products and services in the collective consciousness.

America has been called one of the most media brainwashed nations on the planet. Despite the numerous books written about subliminal messages in advertising, people still "fall" for it.

I would call advertising one of the most sophisticated delivery systems for mental slavery, because unbeknown to the conscious mind, the unconscious picks up on everything. Every code, every image, every suggestion.

Is there anything innocent about this image? Not really. The message is obvious.

Keep in the mind, the above is stock photography that some companies are using to advertise products and services.

The message here is not as obvious, but it is just as Racist. For this magazine ad, for a perfume called "In Black" the designer decided to go with a Black woman in erotic bondage. Again, playing on the idea of the Black Woman as sexual slaves, or sex toys. Notice the dove also, as part of the white back drop. The dove is present to define "white" as being divine, pure, holy etc.

People in advertising seem to be super obsessed with black- white references, and will stop at nothing to portray White as superior in their ads, or to show some form of racial stereotype.

This is American history after all right? How soon do we forget that racist images forged the ideas some Whites had about Africa before many of them knew what an African was.

It was comic book heros like Tarzan (meaning "white-skin") that gave them a place to fear. A place filled with savage monsters and beasts ready and willing to tear them limb from limb. In truth, many Whites still believe this, and certain images in advertising help to keep those fears alive.

Everyone is in on the deal. Of course there are millions of ads now, with no Black people at all, but references are still being made towards Black culture, either thru the use of black terms, words, or mannerisms.

How many commercials are there on Television with Black people dancing and singing about chicken? This is 2007 isn't it?

This image was the blue print, now we're dealing with the structures of racism themselves. It all starts with media.

This ad was used to sell California fig bitters. "Black Mammy" as she was called had her work cut on for her in numerous advertisments like this one.

So where is "Black Mammy" today?

Obviously all Big Black Women know about the kitchen. White people trust "Mammy" when she tells them what they should use and buy for the kitchen. You might think that's not racist. But its a fact. Pine Sol remains America's #1 household cleaner because of our Sistah.

The same recipe was used here:

Does she look familar?

Now we must ask a question, sub-consciously why do White folks trust the big Black Woman so much? The big secret is, not only was "Mammy" taking care of little Sally and Tommy when Mr and Mrs Massa was away. She was also wet nursing too. In fact Mammy did it all. Mammy is stuck in the sub-conscious of American Whites, because by all means, she IS the Mother of American Whites- I.E:



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You presented plenty of obvious images here. Something about those Geico cave man commercials that just make me cringe!


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Well, we know what the Geico thing is all about. "Whites" are simply trying to justify crazed racist assertions and beliefs.


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I kinda like the new Geico commercials. I always play around with my roommate and ask "So that's how your ancestors looked?" The gekko was played out anyway.


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I wanted to start off with the most obvious and easy symbols of advertising. But Geico would be a good addition to this conversation, since there are many un-obvious messages in Geico commercials.

Keep in mind the real name of the company: "Government Employees Insurance Company".

Geico was founded in Ft. Lauderdale Florida. I lived there for awhile myself and I know about the millions of geckos running around. So of course, it made sense for this lizard to resent the company because of the common sounding name. Its much much deeper than that.

The CEO of Geico has an interesting resume as well. Mr. Olza Nicely received an honorary degree for a commitment to personal and professional ethics. Which seems odd once we decode the racist messages in Geico commercials.

I'm sure having a billion dollar insurance company fits Olza "Nicely."

Our little Gecko friend is given an English accent in order to establish him as an upstanding "chap" who knows a good deal when he sees one. The man behind the mask is Actor and Comedian Jake Wood.

Interestingly enough Kelsey Grammer issued his voice for the first Geico commercial. Yes, the same Kelsey who produces the raunchy stereotypical show "Girlfriends" on UPN.

The Martin Agency: is responsible for these Geico commercials. As well as many others.

With an advertising budget of well over $300 million, the Geko still remains one of the most recognizable icons in Advertising today.

But the question every good company wants to know is, what does this image represent in the sub-conscious mind of the people? We must understand this clearly, every image created in advertising must tie in somehow with the sub-conscious in order for the company to be successful.

The Gecko represent our own reptilian brain. He also represents reptilians themselves. Thus- the English accent? Maybe only David Icke would agree with that one.

There is a myth in advertising that say: "the reptilian always wins" what this means is that people or sheeple, always follow their reptilian brain. For this reason companies pay Advertising Agencies like The Martin Company millions of dollars to find the right codes into their sub-conscious. And as the Matrix would put it: "The codes to Zion."

People forget this one. No one would be the least interested in small ugly animals advertising products and services without The Taco Bell Chihuahua. Now was that racist or was it? Of course it was.

Now let's look at the caveman. "So easy a caveman can do it." And to defend the obvious bigotry the Caveman goes thru, Geico says these ads are addressing the millions of Emails they get from people who say the website is difficult to use. If Customers see that even a Caveman can access the website, get a quote etc., then- why can't you?

Well, it would seem the caveman image is being used to allow American prejudices seem, comical. Which is usually the mood of most racist commercials. They work to make racisms softer, sweeter and gentler. Rumors are, the Caveman will be getting his own Sitcom, and guess where he will live. Right here in Atlanta.

Is this the Hartsfield Jackson Airport in Atlanta?? Where hundreds of Black people already complain about offensive ads on the walls and trains?

So who does this Caveman really represent? Its funny that so many Black people can't see when they are being mocked. The whole story line behind the Caveman commercials is these Cavemen are upset about the commercials themselves! They are upset because they're been dehumanized and want equality...hummm, I wonder- who does that sound like?

Who has been fighting for the same thing in this country for hundreds of years? Cavemen or Black folks?

Some of you might say, it's not that deep. Actually it is, because we are dealing with the sub-conscious here. There are no million dollar Advertising companies that make commercials for the "fun" of it. The average cost of a commercial during the super bowl is 2.6 million for 30 seconds.

No one is making commercials for the fun of it. Commercials are made to weld a message in your brain, something that is remembered beyond the 30 second mark. Even when you don't buy the product or service- you buy the idea that this company profits off. Which is most cases is Racism. As long as that Racism is alive in this country, all of these companies profit.

What are we learning here? Behavior. Notice the Caveman’s BEHAVIOR. He is a Caveman, yet he is civil. He is peaceful. People are speaking about him right to his face, he is calm. He does interviews. He sits with his obvious gay caveman lover at a resturant. He’s upset, he doesn't eat, but he holds his tongue. He goes to “therapy” as every, Nig- I meant- Caveman should…are we really watching these commercials, or is true that the reptilian always wins? Now your sub-conscious mind has learned something. Hey, if a Caveman treats prejudice this way, why I am complaining so much? Why am I so hot and bothered?

It's us they make money off, not Cavemen or Lizards.
I'll have to get out my digital cam and get on the trains here in Atlanta so we can all see and decode what is being advertised to our people. Because of the high black demographic here, this is the nursing ground for most companies to weld their message.

Coca Cola, CNN, Ted Turner Co. are among those raping the minds of black people right here.

The saga continues.....


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But do you think that the racist undertone is always intentional? Or is it something ingrained in their subconscious that would come through in their advertising?


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It would all depend on the company purchasing the ad, and the agency developing it.

Usually, companies don’t have any idea what their commercial or ad should say. They leave that in the hands of the creative minds at the ad agency. Most ad agencies create in teams. Which means, there are several people responsible for the writing of one commercial. The prejudices of these people are usually what we see in most ads. Unfortunately when it comes down to Racism, if there isn’t a black person in that group to speak up, the ad goes to press. Again, we are dealing with subliminal messages here, so it’s not obvious, in your face Racism.

Once the ad is developed and produced, then it is tested by another group. Usually people at the agency itself. Or, they may fit the bill for real people to come in and watch the ad. A survey is then taken about how people felt about this commercial.

At times even when the agency is fully away of the Racist overtones in an ad, they run it anyway. But since most of these messages aren’t obvious, an average Brotha or Sistah in the group could only respond to the nature of the ad itself. Usually, we say I like it, it’s funny.

When black people say something is funny, White companies here the sound of cash registers going off. Make Black people laugh, make money.

Anyone going to school for advertising and marketing would tell you that there is nothing un-intentional about this game. These companies spend billions of dollars doing surveys in order to figure out how people “think.” It’s all about emotions, because emotions are the doorway to the subconscious mind.

Many malls around the nation are changing their color scheme to include more green, after a study that found this color influences people to spend spend spend.


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Very insightful.

I will admit that I myself tend to not think deeply of most ads that I see, but rather take them for face value. Maybe I should start examining these sorts of things more closely.

My roommate and I were discussing this earlier and he thinks that maybe in this case racism a by-product of greed rather than a tool for oppression. Sometimes he comes off a little naive...but maybe he still has high hopes for his race, lol.


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I was gonna be a graphic designer but I decided not to be because of what I knew about the business...the problem is there is millions of messages by that the hypocritical corrupt and racist entertainment media seems to keep bringing up is how skinny women are getting...then promotes that same concept daily.

The government loves to make black people laugh because laughter takes away the pain for a while and they count on making sure alll we care about is bling bling and rims....and being funny

And another way they con us is by doing this "the first black...." now most black people applaud this but think about it....that is extremely racist.....they are still labeling and the fact that they were the first in anything should show how racists america is......

The only thing they changed about there racism is instead of putting some chicken loving black faced white lips black person calling them "coons" they have some hip hop thug acting rapper on food and pop ads...


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Very true. And as a Designer myself, I can say we do a great deal of "re-touching"- making dark photographs lighter in order to please the clients. That within itself is very racist. So, you might see your favorite Actor, Singer or Rapper in person and find them to be much darker in person.

The question about intentional Racism in today's commercials still puzzles even those who seek to stop these companies from advertising their prejudices in this manner. Like the NAACP for example.

When AT&T ran a print Ad years back, a monkey represented Africa instead of an African. There was a debate even then about how intentional this Racism was. The designer of that ad was fired nonetheless.

Here's a rule of thumb. Sexism and Racism in Advertising in many ways are the same. There is just as much Racism towards people of color, as there is sexism towards Women. Because American Advertising is ran for, and by - White Males.

So how intentional is a sexist ad? Very. White Males are intentionally sexist, as they are intentionally racist. But to be fair I won't generalize, because obvious not all Men, think sexist. But I have my moments too.

Honestly how often are Men really offended by ads that show erotic sexually starved Women? So let's think about that. Male Supremacy is just as much a reality in advertising as White supremacy. Oddly enough, these coins match. White people are outnumbered by people of color in the world. And Men are outnumbered by Women in the world.

So does the majority really rule? Or does one sheep Dog controls the herd?

There are many women who are just as uncomfortable about sexist images in the media of advertising, as there are people offended by messages about stereotypical images.

So here's another myth is advertising: "sex sells." My question is, do they mean "sex" as in gender, or "sex" as in copulation?

About 95% of the ads we see in print and on television are sexual. Either making sexual references, or issuing sexual imagery and language. Key words, key images, key situations are used to target the male and female mind. Males and females respond to different colors, sounds and words. A Man responds differently to seeing a Women in a red dress, than to a Woman in a white dress. A Woman responds differently to a Man in a dark suit, than a Man in a light suit. These responses are all linked to the sub-conscious.

But despite targeting Women, maybe homosexual "friendly" ad agencies can't help but sell everyone they can. In this 50 Cent Ad shown here, notice where "for Men" is placed. Placement is a major part of the subliminal message machines in most print ads. But even ad agencies study psychology and know some of the most "thuggish" bad boys with Women on each shoulder do so to cover up their sexuality.

So what is more a concern? Racism or Sexism? Both, because they both intertwine, both are affective story tellers. Both affect our Sistahs and Brothas.

These ads train us how to deal with situations we deal with in reality. Nothing is ever just a "ha ha he he" in advertising. As in this Commercial with our Sistah and Mother screaming while holding on to her children, and almost suffocating them in her bosom. Sure is funny isn't it?

Not really, when you realize that this Woman represents the largest demographic of Black Women in the world. Plus size Single Black Mothers. Now is she really screaming because the ride is scary....

or is she screaming because the "ride" of raising children on her own is scary? Why I am saying that if she is obviously wearing a wedding ring? The wedding ring is not obvious is the commerical as it is in this capture. Disney World wants to reach this demographic. Single Moms: You don't need a Father to take your children to Disney World.

This commercial is racist as it is sexist. Don't all Big Black Women use their breasts to shield their children from danger? Sure seems that way.

Well...maybe it's not that deep for everyone...
I guess it's my fault for being able to see all these things. I knew AOL was the "all seeing eye" before most people on AOL itself.

We see what we are taught to see.

More to come....