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Race, Marketing, & Markets / Publication Abstract

Perspectives: race and advertising: conceptualizing a way forward through aesthetics

Jan 23, 2023

Kevin D. Thomas, Guillaume D. Johnson, Sonya A. Grier

Race, Marketing, & Markets


As brands and advertisers worldwide are claiming to be reviewing the ways they represent race, this conceptual piece provides a call to action for international advertising researchers to also reassess how they engage and analyze race. Our goal is threefold: (1) provide an abbreviated assessment of the current body of advertising literature involving race and advertising and summarize its insights and lacunae; (2) expand the conceptualization of race currently held in advertising research by proffering a racial aesthetics framework that examines what race is and how it is reified through advertising (i.e. white supremacy; racial respectability; racial pride; race as biology; colourblind/post-racial; hyper-racial) and (3) illustrate how our conceptualization can support a more robust and informative body of research. Our intention in these three endeavours is not to provide an exhaustive accounting, rather we purposely paint with broad strokes to invite fellow researchers to deepen, broaden, and reimagine future research on race and advertising.

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