Every Cinco de Mayo, my friends in media and advertising and I share the worst ads we can find pegged to this long-misunderstood date. In our hall of shame: detergent promising a “fiesta like there’s no “mañana” in the laundry room, a “Flyo de Mayo” for you and your “amigos” to go somewhere “hot” and mayonnaise to “put the mayo” in your celebration.
I don’t latch onto Cinco de Mayo because it’s a convenient target (it usually is), but for a more important reason. Cultural phenomena in the Latino sphere are regularly misunderstood, co-opted and distorted by marketers and advertisers, and this tendency is top of mind for me for two reasons. First, it’s Hispanic Heritage Month. Second, large language models (LLMs) such as ChatGPT will supercharge the “Cinco de Mayo effect” of misrepresenting and stereotyping Latinos in media and advertising—unless creatives are brave enough to combat it.
With every prompt or query, LLMs betray the linguistic and cultural biases they absorb. Reported biases in content generated by AI include underrepresentation of minorities, perpetuation of stereotypes and botched attempts at capturing linguistic nuance. And that’s just in written results.