Advertising Diversity: Ad Agencies and the Creation of Asian American Consumers
Shalini Shankar is Associate Professor of Anthropology and Asian American Studies at Northwestern University. She is the author of Desi Land: Teen Culture, Class, and Success in Silicon Valley, also published by Duke University Press.
Production and Media
This chapter examines processes integral to producing ads for broadcast media, as well as emerging approaches to digital media and marketing. It illustrates how “assemblages” of diversity are produced through the politics of casting, brand, and diversity. The chapter traces how Asian American casting in general market ads has shifted in recent years, as well as how they may differ from those in Asian American advertising. It also explores the general market advertising concept “ethnic ambiguity,” a popular approach to representing diversity. The chapter then turns its attention to broadcast, digital media, social media, public relations, corporate sponsorship, and “out-of-home” marketing to show how ad executives place ads in media. It also analyzes how they regard the growing marketing possibilities enabled by “place-based” GPS-driven digital technologies and how these are marking the presence of Asian Americans in American cities and suburbs in new ways.