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Mastro & Stern(1)

Mastro & Stern(1) - Jnurn.JI of Bro.u/ca,ting.~...

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Unformatted text preview: Jnurn.JI of Bro.u/ca,ting .~ Ell'clronic All'dia/DccC'mln•r :.!llll I Representations of Race in Television Commercials: A Content Analysis of Prime-Time Advertising Dana E. Mastro and Susannah R. Stern Given the pcwcity of contemporary e>.amintllions of racial/ethnic minority portrayals in television advertisements, this study analyzed the frequency, coni<'>. I, and qualitv o{2,315 speaking churacters in a one-week sample of primC'-Itme television commercials. Results reveal different patterns of portrc1yals when Airican American, Asian American, Latino, Native Amer- ican, and White characters are featured in television advcrti ements. The implications oi these images are e\amined from the perspective of social cogmt11 e theor) to provide insights into their posstble impact on audience members' sell~perceptions. Researc h from the U.S. Department of Commerce demonstrate!> that, collectively, the annual purchasing power oi raCial/ethmc minorities constitutes over 20% of the nat1on's total consumer ~pending and is rising at a rate fa~ter than that of the non-minority population (MBDA, 2000). Together with rapidly changing demo- graphics, these figures have prompted advertisers to aggressively tap into the extensive minonty market (Holland & Gentry, 1999). While 5uch attempts represent tremendous financial opportunities for the ad mdustry, they are not without conse- quence fur consumers. In fact, researchers argue that the sheer pervasiveness of advertising may enhance its potential to influence television viewers (Stern, 1999). In order to identify the possible implications of advert1smg exposure on minorities, this content analysis utdiLes a social cognitive perspective in its evaluation of portrayals of Blacks (Africa n Americans), Asian Amencans, Latinos, and Whites in current prime-time television commercials. Because these depictions have traditionally been questiOnable in nature (Greenberg, Mastro, & Brand, 2002), these groups were isolated for examination. Although content analyses cannot offer cau~al evidence, the content features dcnved from these analyses are mtcgral to the development of comprehensive media effects studies (Shoemaker & Reese, 19%). Social cognitive theory ($CT) suggests that under certain conditions, such as the O,m a f. M astro (l'h.O., Mtc/ug.m Stale Uni'<'"tl)'l " A'si<t.Jnl Prolc•s'm in lht> OcpJrtnl('nt of CommuniCJ· lton .11 till' Umi''''"'Y ol Ari.ronJ. Hl'r rese.uch IO(('t<">l~ are atm<vl .11 dt)( umc>ntmg deptoiuns ol rae£> and c•thmc tl) 10 the• mcv/i,l and c•x.mun10gtllc> tmpatt ol c·>.pt.NJrC' on IOICf11mup /)('/l,wmr< Su5anna R. Sll'm !Ph.D., Um~er<tl} nl North Caro/m,l. ChJpc.•/1/tiiJ "Aw$1Jnl Profes;or 111 till' Department m Communi< ,llum .11 HO<ton College. Hl'r rl'SC.•artll IOIC'rt'>l' mc/u(/(• routh. Jlf'lldl'f, .md £>11'C.tmnic nlf'CIIJ....
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Mastro &amp; Stern(1) - Jnurn.JI of Bro.u/ca,ting.~...

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