The return of the Human Zoo!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ever since ” Ethnological Expositions” had a severe effect in the 19th and the 20th century, there came a new buzz called Human Zoo’s. It displayed the public exhibits of human beings, usually in a ‘natural’ or ‘primitive state’. The motive was to emphasize the cultural differences between the Western and non-European people, These zoo’s were on the lines of Social Darwinism, and were criticised as being racist. Today in the year 2008 I forsee a new change in the definition of a social zoo in the form of advertisments. Everyone knows the man behind the United Colors of Benetton ad, Oliverio Toscani; was it his creative genius that we all should admire or the new culture shock that he probably gave the world. Recent examples from Sony ( hyperkined ad) to Absolut has shown the path that advertising and racism combined could deliver. A yahoo chat room discussion that i had quite a few days back witness people talking of whether the ads were acceptable, some guys pointed out to the marketing segmentation and positioning, one made a remark that the ad for the United Colors of Benetton ad was advertised as United and hence needed to communicate people from various communities, the person also gave an interesting note to how FCUK was branded or as the matter of fact Cocaine ( the energy drink). BrandChannel from the house of Interbrand gave a classic post to the use of conrtroversial names and images to propel the ad, while i might say that the advertising campaign can get you publicity, with people taking about the ad but it might also be demeaning to ‘certain classes’ of the society, Little did we know that the Ad for Dolce and Gabbana was heavily protested by Nun’s and women folk in many parts of the world. The new ads for Hanes ( hyperlinked ad ) had also come under the light of controversy due to racism, the ad featured a man dragging offensive images such as f***ot and n***er quoted the economic times. On a personal note on seeing the ads i could have come to the conclusion that there has been some racism but it was depicted in a very clever way, Racism isnt new here in the indian context too, the classifieds in the newspaper for a matrimonial ad show us enough that there is racism in India, but when Indian advertising agencies embark of racism is a site which I, have seen after a very long time. The question that had me pondering was why put racism in advertising, what will be the consequences to the brand image of the company, and how much time will it take for the brand regain its image. For now the questions are yet to be pondered on, Why do brand managers add racism in the advertising context after knowing that it might degrade the brand in the future, i am off to ponder on these questions and will sure post them once i get enlightened, and by the way you can help me too………chao for now and lets not forget we are back to the human zoo………………………..

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