Racial Stereotypes in Advertising

13 Nov

Media Prima was forced to take down the series of Ramadan commercials on 8tv channel because public claims that it is racist especially to non-Muslims. The commercial shows a Chinese girl who always eat in public, wear revealing clothes and being loud during the fasting month. This advertisement creates stereotypes to non-Muslim.

(Youtube, 2011)

According to International Charter (2011), article 4 of Advertising Ethics Standard, which is social responsibility, stated that advertisement should not disregard any form of discrimination which includes race, religion, nationality, sex of age nor in any way damage human dignity. Media Prima has broken the ethics by publishing advertisement that discriminate Chinese people.

There are few examples of advertisement that stereotypes certain race. There are few examples of advertisement that stereotypes certain race. First of all, it is the Duncan Hines’ Cupcake. Many claimed the Duncan Hines’ Cupcake to be racist.

(Huffpost, 2010)

In this advertisement, Dunan Hines’ “Amazing Glazes” promotes its animated vanilla cupcakes. When the chocolate glaze is put on the cupcakes, it began to sing and beatbox. Indirectly, it became a stereotype towards black people.  (Huffpost, 2010)

There are certain guidelines to be followed in advertising whether it is for print or commercial. These guidelines are not to restrict creative advertising but to emphasis certain content that publisher should prevent when creating an advertisement. It is to avoid any misconception or misinterpretation of information. One of the advertising guidelines is insensitivity to religious beliefs of or physical and mental disabilities. For example, when a person, thing, place or idea experienced a disrespectful treatment. (Entertainment Software Rating Board, 2011)

Cadbury had to apologized to supermodel, Naomi Campbell when she claimed that their advertisement is comparing her to the chocolate bars and it is considered as racist. It uses the tagline of “Move over Naomi, there’s a new diva in town”.  She was shocked and it upset her to be described as chocolate. (Sweney M. 2011)

By looking at this, you can see that advertiser creates advertisement without looking at the guidelines and it get them into trouble when the advertisement discriminate the community. So, the next time you create an advertisement, consider the advertising ethics before hand.



1. International Charter (2011), Ethical Advertising Standard viewed on 14 November 2011 http://www.icharter.org/standards/eas405/

2. Huffpost (2010), Is Duncan Hines’ Cupcake Ad Racist viewed on 14 November 2011 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/10/duncan-hines-racist-cupcake_n_795156.html?ir=Food

3. Entertainment Software Rating Board (2011), Principles and Guidelines for Responsible Advertising Practices: Scope of the Principles and Guidelines viewed on 14 November 2011 http://www.esrb.org/ratings/principles_guidelines.jsp

4. Sweney M. (2011), Cadbury Apologizes to Naomi Campbell Over ‘Racist’ Ad viewed on 14 November 2011 http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/jun/03/cadbury-naomi-campbell-ad?

5. Youtube (2011), News: Malaysia TV Station Ramadan Ads Sparks Debate viewed on 14 November 2011 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ke7p5rp-nbI


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