Race, Marketing, & Markets / Publication Abstract
Sensitizing Black Adult and Youth Consumers to Targeted Food Marketing Tactics in Their Environments
Oct 29, 2017
Katherine Isselmann DiSantis, Shiriki Kumanyika, Lori Carter-Edwards, Deborah Rohm Young, Sonya A Grier, Vikki Lassiter
Food marketing environments of Black American consumers are heavily affected by ethnically-targeted marketing of sugar sweetened beverages, fast foods, and other products that may contribute to caloric overconsumption. This qualitative study assessed Black consumers’ responses to targeted marketing. Black adults (2 mixed gender groups; total n = 30) and youth (2 gender specific groups; total n = 35) from two U.S. communities participated before and after a sensitization procedure—a critical practice used to understand social justice concerns. Pre-sensitization focus groups elicited responses to scenarios about various targeted marketing tactics. Participants were then given an informational booklet about targeted marketing to Black Americans, and all returned for the second (post-sensitization) focus group one week later. Conventional qualitative content analysis of transcripts identified several salient themes: seeing the marketer’s perspective (“it’s about demand”; “consumers choose”), respect for community (“marketers are setting us up for failure”; “making wrong assumptions”), and food environments as a social justice issue (“no one is watching the door”; “I didn’t realize”). Effects of sensitization were reflected in participants’ stated reactions to the information in the booklet, and also in the relative occurrence of marketer-oriented themes and social justice-oriented themes, respectively, less and more after sensitization.
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