Content Analysis of Billboard advertising: Ethnicity in the Media.

Essay by beelyboppersCollege, UndergraduateB, March 2004

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My aims for this study are to discover how ethnic minorities are being used in the specific medium of billboard advertising. What products are ethnic minorities advertising, are they being stereotyped or pigeon holed, or are they being represented at all? I have chosen this topic because so much time has been devoted to studying this same issue in television advertising, that other advertising mediums have been overlooked. I will also find it interesting to know whether billboard advertising is similar, the same or very different to television in its representation of ethnic minorities. By the end of my research I hope to have a clearer picture of just how ethnic minorities are used in billboard advertising or if they are being falsely represented.

Context and Concepts

I have chosen two different writings based around the subject of billboard advertising to draw ideas and concepts for my study. The first is an extract from "please adjust your set" media and minorities in a multicultural society by Augie Fleras.

This study includes concepts and ideas on minorities in advertising, how they are represented and reasons why they are represented in certain ways. The article also includes a recent study of billboards in a Montreal subway station. It was found that, in over 160 billboards, ethnic minorities were represented once (study by Fo Niemi and Mario Salgado). The article goes on to talk in depth about the logic behind advertising with explicit reference to the portrayal of ethnic minorities. In addition to this it also asks and answers questions about why advertising can exclude or include ethnic minorities.

The concepts that I will draw from this article are firstly, how ethnic minorities are stereotyped or pigeon holed in billboard advertising. For example the one image of an ethnic minority in...