Advertising in Urban CommunitiesAbigail R.

Urban communities have played a vital role in the United States since colonial times. Advertising tactics today are not brand new. They are linked to the massive migration and urbanization during the 20th century. As urban press in American society increased, it has attracted the attention of white businesses to market their struggles.

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Children in urban communities mainly walk to school or take the bus. When children are on their way to school they see billboards and signs giving a message that the way to be happy and get ahead is to have a beer and smoke cigarettes. Advertisers simply target urban especially black communities regardless of area income. The black areas are generally seen as “the ghetto” by advertisers(1). At the bus stops and subway stations in urban neighborhoods that is all you see. Advertisers also use famous black men and women mainly from the entertainment industry to market to the urban youth. Sadly the black and urban youth often buy into this trap, just so they can be like the celebrities advertised.

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Despite how black youth are portrayed in the media, young blacks drink less than any youth of other racial and ethnic groups, this may be linked to factors such as poverty, social norms and religion that temper some of advertising’s impacts. Those who do drink at a young age continue as they grow older. They become alcoholics just like the media wanted. Unlike their white peers they do not have the access to health care and substance abuse treatment, or rehab because they live in poorer neighborhoods and are incarcerated more frequently.

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Cigarette Companies make a Profit of Your Suffering

The tobacco industry’s advertise to communities of color, low income communities, and capitalize off of stereotypes. Despite an overall decline in smoking since the 1960s, higher rates of smoking exist among individuals of specific racial, ethnic, and educational backgrounds. Cigarette companies target specific individuals of ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. Education level and income level come hand in hand. The higher education attained, the more income received over time. Baltimore, Maryland has a 65% Black population, an average income of about $43,500 per year. Low income Black communities are more likely to have high density of tobacco retailers than other communities. Throughout the United States, areas with a larger proportion of African Americans have significantly higher retailer density, higher numbers of menthol advertisements, higher availability of flavored cigars, more price promotions, and lower prices for Newport cigarettes, little cigars, and cigarillos (

Image result for tobacco advertising in black communities
Image result for tobacco advertising in black communities

Advertisers Targeted Black Consumers in the 1970s

It is not just alcohol and tobacco. Advertisers are targeting more fast foods to black consumers. At the end of the civil-rights movement, the industry began to move away from portraying African Americans almost exclusively in positions of servitude as props in ads aimed at white audiences. By the 1970s, companies such as McDonald’s and Coca-Cola began increased racial diversity depicted in their campaigns. The main goal was for corporations to keep up with the times, and to broaden their potential consumer base. If you think about it when you drive by poor neighborhoods largely populated neighborhoods you mainly see fast foods restaurants such as McDonald's, Kentucky Fried Chicken,Wendy's and much more (3).
A few advertisers try to actually make change in urban communities such as advertiser Neil Drossman, who was in charge of this project. He stated the McDonald’s ads are “a really cynical and superficial effort to reach a black audience.( Drossman, who began working in New York ad agencies in the 1970s, said he remembers his firm working on an ad featuring a black couple and being asked if it looked “too urban.”
Image result for advertising in urban communities 70s
Image result for advertising in urban communities 70s
Advertising and Marketing in Modern Day Society

Even in modern day society advertisers knows the issues of the urban community and still try to market of the their issues. Recently Pepsi released a commercial this spring featuring reality star and model Kendall Jenner, who is known for appropriating urban culture. The Pepsi commercial sparked controversy for appropriating the resistance.
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The commercial begins by Kendall modeling in the doorway of a building while a protest marches down the street in front of her. Kendall then decides that she wants to join the resistance and rips her blonde wig off, wipes her makeup off her face, and then walks into the street to march with the people. She then grabs a can of Pepsi and walks over to the line of policeman and hands one to a cop. Somehow she manages to bring everyone together, by then the cops open the can and takes a sip, which causes the crowd to erupt in cheers. “Live bolder, live louder, live for now,” is then shown on the screen before the commercial ends. ( Kendall approaching the line of police has been compared to the photo of protester Leshia Evans approaching the police during a Black Lives Matter protest in 2016 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She was arrested though, and Kendall is not.
DeRay Mckesson an activist commented “If I had carried Pepsi I guess I never would have gotten arrested . Who knew?”
Image result for deray mckesson pepsi
Image result for deray mckesson pepsi

Pepsi later somewhat apologized stating they were trying to project a global message of unity, peace and understanding. "Clearly, we missed the mark and apologize,” Pepsi said in a statement. “We did not intend to make light of any serious issue.” They new exactly what they were doing because before a commercial is released to the public ,there is a group of people that watch it and give opinions if it should be published or not. Pepsi appropriated from a serious protests to sell its product, while minimizing the danger protesters encounter and the frustration they feel (5).
Soda companies sell harder to young consumers than to anyone else.From Black Lives Matter to the Women’s Marches, politically active people are already effecting change all over the world, and they are not doing it with a Pepsi soda and supermodels. Now, they have used the same tools that organized those movements to express how ill-advised it was to use their work to sell carbonated beverages. The reaction to Pepsi’s ad, not the ad itself, brought people together.

Image result for pepsi memes kendall jenner
Image result for pepsi memes kendall jenner

Urban communities can't just live of tobacco

Companies market tobacco, alcohol and rarely ever fresh fruits and vegetables. Residents of urban communities have to deal with limited healthy food choices. People have a limited ability to access affordable nutritious food, because they live far from a supermarket or large grocery store and do not have easy access to transportation. People of urban communities have easier access to fast food restaurants and convenience stores but limited access to supermarkets. Limited access to nutritious food and relatively easier access to less nutritious food could be linked to poor diets and, ultimately, to obesity and diet-related diseases. Then the society blames them for their lifestyle but it is their only choice.
Image result for food advertising in urban communities
Image result for food advertising in urban communities

The food disparity in South Los Angeles is an echo of the area's history, marked by decades of segregation and racial strife, dating back before the deadly 1965 Watts riots(foodsafetynew).com.).In the last decade, South Los Angeles has shifted from a mostly black to a Hispanic community, with Latinos making up about two-thirds of the population ( Nearly three-quarters of restaurants offer food on the go, compared to forty-two percent in pricier white neighborhoods in West Los Angeles.
Advertisers follow the money. At the end of the day it is all about money and to make their company look good. In urban communities advertisers emphasize on,fast foods,alcohol and tobacco.They pray on the innocent. They research the people they are trying to reach and design a campaign that is geared to show the products to benefit or some cases have a negative impact on that community. Advertiser try to get to their consumers through media such as Pepsi, but sometimes it does not always work out.Yes,advertiser are trying making progress. Advertisers are know depicting people of different background to reach out to all consumers in a positive way.

Advertising is one of the best modern day tactics that allows you to target ideal customers. It drives economic growth and helps people choose which brands or companies to buy from. Large display advertisements, like Billboards, are certainly one of the best forms of advertising in modern day urban communities. In the United State ads target one group of people more than others. Studies show that Black and Hispanic neighborhoods have more outdoor advertising space than white neighborhoods and these spaces market alcohol and tobacco advertisements mainly targeting our young ones (4).Advertisers can not keep youth from seeing messages that are intended for adults. The industry knows precisely what they are doing.

1)Kwate, Naa OyoA., and Tammy H. Lee. "Ghettoizing Outdoor Advertising: Disadvantage and Ad Panel Density in Black Neighborhoods." Journal of Urban Health. Springer US, 6 Jan. 2007. Web. 18 May 2017.
2)"Disparities in Point-of-Sale Advertising and Retailer Density." Counter Tobacco. University of North Carolina., n.d. Web. 18 May 2017.
3)Edwards, Jim. "Why Big Tobacco Targeted Blacks With Ads for Menthol Cigarettes." CBS News. CBS Interactive, 05 Jan. 2011. Web. 18 May 2017.
4)Seales, Amanda. "It's Not A Coincidence." Truth. TheTRUTH, 23 Mar. 2017. Web. 18 May 2017.
Kendall Jenner for PEPSI Commercial. Dir. Indra Nooyi. Perf. Kendall Jenner. Youtube. Pepsi, 4 Apr. 2017. Web. May-June 2017.