Plastered all over billboards and buses in my area, Pemco advertises their insurance (for what, I don't know). The intimacy-inducing motto is, "we're a lot like you." The pictures portray quirky Northwesterners: white-beared Bainbridge architect, 50 degrees shirt off guy, WallaWalla WineWine WomanWoman, gluten-free no-refined sugar soy allergy lady, goat renter guy.
It is pretty funny to see our local oddities called out larger than life, except one thing really bugs me. All us personality-laden people seem to be white.
For probably about a year now I've been watching the ads, wondering about the whiteness of them. Is it some ad agency's mindless oversight? Does the insurance agency really not want to attract people of color for some reason? Are race and class so mixed that people of color don't fall into the target audience for insurance - because really most of the not-white people I know still drive cars, see doctors and have children they want to protect in case of their death. Maybe the ads are carefully targeted to the demographics of the local population and so my white-self only sees white people ads. No, wait, I live in the most diverse zip code in the US so that can't be it.
Personally, I'd want my ad agency to be a little more on top of this sort of image management.
Once, for just a short run, there was a woman who looked Asian in the ads. She and her pooch represented the dog park devoted personalities. I did sigh with relief that nothing about the picture jumped out at me as being racist or stereotypical. But the ad only ran a week or so.
A quick visit over to the Pemco site yields a variety of quirky Northwesterners of color. Somehow these haven't made it to the mass public outreach.
I'd like to finish this post with some jaunty summary or witty remarks, but I find I'm at a loss. Have you seen the signs? Notice any people of color? How do the ads seem to you?