Why Whites Are Over-Represented in TV Ads

race_fountain In the UK, opinion leaders are currently feigning surprise and perplexity at the fact that there, just as in the USA, TV ads show too many white people. “Why? How can this be?,” wonder the writers and industry spokespeople.

If ever there were a question that was easy to answer, this, despite the media reportage suggesting otherwise, is it. There are two extremely basic and overwhelming reasons why white people are over-represented in television advertisements:

1. In societies with substantial racist histories (to say nothing of those with epic, paint-peeling racist histories like the UK and USA), whites still have way more money than non-whites, so the whites simply count more (and more often) as marketing “targets.”

2. Big business marketing is inherently conservative, inherently afraid of offending the most backwards parts of its targeted audiences. Hence, on topics like race and gender, capitalist advertising is always going to be at least a step behind the overall population, to say nothing of reason, enlightenment, and truth/justice.

Recall the self-report of Ed Vorkapich, long-time Pepsi-Cola advertising director, which I cited in the TCT book:

“You’ve got to be careful that the white guys don’t relate too much to the black girl and that the black guy doesn’t relate too much to the white girls.”

Such is the behind-the-scenes stuff of our dominant institutions.

Shame Has No Place in Marketing

vitaminwate The Coca-Cola Corporation peddles its “Vitamin Water” brand of sugar-water as a vehicle for harvesting dollars from the long-standing (and largely business-implanted) public over-estimation of what vitamins are and what they do for human health and performance. A decent society would ban this pointless, cynical landfill fodder, and fine Coca-Cola for planning and promulgating it.

Something milder than that has happened in Britain, according to Advertising Age. There, the Advertising Standards Authority (an unthinkable institutional possibility here in the USA, of course) has told Coke it can’t run its normal ads for Vitamin Water, due to their blatant, exploitative falsity (which, of course, is the same thing as the brand’s very purpose and plan).

The news there, though, is more about the shameless, laughable lies Coke presented in its losing attempt at self-defense. As reported by Ad Age:

One poster was headlined “More muscles than brussels.” The complaints challenged the implication that the drink’s health benefits made it equivalent to eating brussels sprouts — a popular U.K. winter vegetable. Coca-Cola claimed that the phrase was instead a reference to former action-movie star Jean Claude Van Damme, who is commonly labeled the “Muscles from Brussels,” referring to his origins in the Belgian city.

Another ad claimed, “Keep perky when you’re feeling murky.” It jokingly advised consumers that if you drink Glaceau Vitaminwater you won’t have to waste your sick days on real illness, and can use them instead “to just, erm, not go in.” Coca-Cola insisted that the “perky” claim was about mood rather than health, and that it did not imply that the drink could prevent illness.

The ASA also received complaints that the ads promoted the range of drinks as healthy, when in fact they contain high levels of sugar. Coca-Cola’s defense was that the products are clearly labeled, and that 7.5 grams of sugar in 100 milliliters is not a “high sugar” content. However, the ASA upheld the complaints because the sugar contained in one Glaceau Vitaminwater represents 26% of an adult’s recommended daily sugar allowance.

It would make an excellent project to study the course of other corporate defenses to ASA charges. These speak volumes about the depth of dishonesty and contempt at the very heart of big business marketing.

We’re #1!

flush Hey, kids! Guess what nation-state is home to the world’s highest cellular phone bills — by far the highest?

Hint: It’s corporate capitalism’s strongest stronghold, the land where brainwashed drones attend meetings to yell at people about the glories of the world’s most expensive and defective and profitable medical insurance scheme, rather than about the craven, bait-and-switch perpetuation of that scheme…

On Friday, the OECD will publish a report detailing the reality that, comparing similar packages and uses across borders, the USA is almost 5 times more expensive than Finland, and a full 25% more expensive than runner-up Spain. I will obtain the new report Friday and report on the details. Those are virtually certain to show that the American way of deregulation and private ownership equals naked theft in yet another boilerplate modern industry…

Until then, here’s a teaser.

Official Face of the Overclass

Hi!  I'm 85!
Hi! I'm 85!

This, my friends, is 85-year-old Gloria Vanderbilt!  Gloria is, of course, not just mommy to the journalistic cipher Anderson Cooper, but also the never-laboring heiress-socialite great granddaughter of railroad robber baron Cornelius Vanderbilt, one of the fine figures who helped ensure that rail transport in the USA would be privately owned and widely despised, rather than publicly provided and widely beloved.

I hereby nominate Gloria as the official 21st-century cover-girl for our corporate overclass.  She’s just absolutely perfect!  Way decrepit and long past any pretense to vigor, she epitomizes the de rigueur look of our times:  The dyed, implanted fake hair.  The scramble for each and every possible plastic-surgical denial of reality.  The vapid self-satisfaction and outdated posings in the face of blatant irrelevance and onrushing death.

Sublime, isn’t it?

And Lady Glo isn’t just the perfect looker.  She even seems to be channeling and verbalizing the core thoughts of her social class-mates, young and old alike:  “I’m determined to be the best I can be for as long as I can, and when I’m not, I have my plans.”

Well, bravo, hmm, hmm!  How true-to-life can one possibly be, hmm, hmm?

One catches the general principle at work (and I use that word “work” ironically) here.  It’s a slight adaptation of old Corny’s classic admission about class power and the (non-)rule of law:  Reality?  What care I about reality?  Hain’t I got the money?

More Than A Third of US Energy Spent on Transportation

carflip This chart from the 2009 Statistical Abstract of the United States shows that 28.6 percent of U.S.energy use happens in transportation.  That figure, of course, includes only the fuels we burn while operating our transportation equipment.

What about the energy it takes to manufacture and maintain both that equipment and the spaces and surfaces over which it gets operated?

That further energy burn has to be counted against transportation, too.  Undoubtedly, some serious chunk of the 31.8 percent of total annual energy use that gets spent in what remains of the U.S. industrial sector goes into making and servicing cars and roads.

Hence, it is very safe to say we are now spending well over a third of our total energy use — which is itself over a fifth of total world energy use, and double the per capita amount spent in all other OECD countries except Canada — on transportation alone.

And, of course, automobiles account for the lion’s share of that.

If this arrangement isn’t unsustainable, nothing is.