Ad Asks: 'Have You Ever Seen a Fat Chinese Woman?'

When Cultural Stereotypes Become Central Selling Point

By Published on .

We can talk forever about cultural clues and sensibilities when it comes to multicultural marketing. But a quick look at Spanish-language print media reminds us there is nothing quite like old-school advertising when it comes to generalizing about an entire population. Not only is it OK, but such generalization becomes the message at the center of the pitch.

In this print ad, which you can find pretty much every day in Impremedia's El Diario La Prensa of New York City, a company pitching tea (Te esplendida) asks readers the following question: "Have you ever seen a fat Chinese woman?" The assumption is that the target market's typical response will be, "Of course not. Never." The reason? "Chinese women drink tea all day long."

The black and white ad, which features -- what else? -- a slim Chinese woman, then urges us to call 1-877-chinito ("little Chinese") to order our daily fix of tea. The promise: lose weight without impossible diets, surgery or pills.

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