I'm brown so I must be Stoopid.

You don't have to speak to us slowly. Or loudly. We're not dumb. Or deaf.

Yet, for some reason, majority culture marketers often assume that visible minorities are, gosh darn it, stoopid.

Now these aren't bad people. They even mean well. They really do want to connect with minority markets.
But, as with so many well-educated anglophone North Americans, ethnocentrism gets in the way.

"They won't understand."
"That's a lovely idea but it's too clever for this audience."

If only they knew. Here's the thing. Ethnic audiences in Canada and the USA are dominated by the post 1990 immigrant phenomenon. These immigrants are well-educated, well-travelled professionals - an affluent white collar audience who must be treated as such.

There is still more to it. These are audiences who have seen their home economies change overnight.
The changes have been radical. Their impact has been global.

The middle class markets that have sprung up in India and China, are surprisingly subtle and sophisticated.

South Asian and Chinese immigrants are exposed to advertising in their home countries that is in many ways more sophisticated than mainstream Canadian advertising. (Watch this blog for great advertising from those markets - it will blow you away, I promise.)

In other words, ethnic audiences are not simple-minded. They do not require simpler messages. In fact they often take offence when treated in this fashion.

These audiences come from ancient cultures and are accustomed to incredibly complex forms of communication. They handle subtlety and nuance to a degree rarely understood by western minds.

So, how should you, as a marketer speak to these markets? More on that after my Diwali and Eid postings.

copyright 2006 Gavin Barrett All rights reserved

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