MetroPCS: Bad Advertising, Plain and Simple

How Hard Is It to Be Humorous Without Tired Stereotypes?

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Bill Imada
Bill Imada
After several months blogging for Ad Age, several of you have reached out to me about ads you truly admire and those you absolutely despise. Last week, I received an e-mail from Jane Pak, CEO of the Los Angeles chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners. She was miffed by a series of MetroPCS commercials that are currently airing on TV. She joins a chorus of others who have told me that this company is running ads that promote their service at the expense of yet another minority group. Here is just one example of their TV ads.

The series of commercials feature two South-Asian talk-show commentators for a program called "Tech & Talk." With exaggerated foreign accents, the two hosts carry on about a variety of topics. Each commercial highlights stereotypes that run the gamut from snake charming to Bollywood.

Once again, I must ask: Can't the ad-agency world be creative without resorting to ethnic stereotypes, exaggerated foreign accents and the demeaning use of talent to promote their client's products and services? While I enjoy humorous ads, I feel compelled to speak out against those that perpetuate negative images of any community of people. Perpetuating stereotypes, whether they appear harmless or not, typecasts a group of people as perpetual foreigners who remain at the fringe of American society. They set these communities of people up for constant ridicule and make recent immigrants feel unwelcome and unappreciated.

I encourage advertising professionals to use humor in a manner that doesn't belittle any minority or ethnic group. There are so many other ways to be funny, and any good creative team will find new and more interesting methods to accomplish this task.

As always, I welcome your comments. I also welcome examples of great creative that doesn't resort to old stereotypes.

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