Are Your Ads Relevant to BC?

Pamela Chan,

It is a Canada Day campaign and we wanted it to encompass real people who look like our customers.
(James Connell, VP e-commerce and marketing, Roots Canada

It might appear to be a small issue but it is a regular topic of conversation.  In our multi-ethnic family we notice the representation of ethnic diversity on TV, in print ads and online.  Does an advertisement feature people of European ethnic heritage exclusively?  Does the image on a web page speak to the Pacific Rim heritage of many British Columbians? In our house we even give bonus points if the mixed ethnicity couple shown features a woman of European ethnic heritage with a man who is not.

It’s hard not to notice the difference between this ad

and this one

Which isn’t to say that Brooks Brothers’ ads are always off the mark. They did produce this ad.

Vancouver isn’t the main focus of Canadian advertising efforts.   The bulk of Canada’s population lives elsewhere. With this reality in mind, here in BC we still feel that efforts to represent our multi-ethnic society are a positive sign of brand-consumer alignment regarding needs and wants.

In recent months Target stores opened up with great fanfare in British Columbia.  Without sounding unnecessarily critical, it should be noted that there have been rumblings that the way the stores are stocked doesn’t meet the shopping needs of consumers.  As an example, unlike the possibilities in a Joe Fresh store, you’d be hard pressed to put together a wardrobe shopping in the women’s section at Target. Despite this shortcoming, it is heartening to see the approach Target has taken with their TV advertisements, featuring the Canadian “landscape” and models from diverse ethnic backgrounds.  See the photo shoot at the one minute mark here:

In a Vancouver Sun article a Vancouver matchmaker is quoted as saying that Asian men in Vancouver are being “voted off the island“.  Dear single women of Vancouver: if you think this way you are losing out.  As a woman who spent over a decade living in Asia and who is now married to a Chinese-Canadian, one of the aspects of my marriage that I love the most is the multi-ethnic reality of our family life.  We live the reality of this diverse background every day. The Eurasian family is a growing demographic that can be added to the many families who represent non-Caucasian British Columbians.  In our household we will tune out if retailers and brands serve us repeated ads that don’t represent the BC population.  It’s not an academic point.  It’s basic psychological tendencies at play.  Consumers identify with advertising content that resonates with them.

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Daily Dish Archives: Pamela Chan,


An interracial couple in an [American] Cheerios commercial elicits discriminatory response.

Conversations about multi-ethnic families from the southern US

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