Sunday, November 20, 2005

Bigotry at T-Mobile


These ads are appalling. T-mobile's "Poser Mobile" ads are blatantly, outrageously racist. The ads prominently feature characters with heavy ethnic accents--one with a thick east-Asian variety, another with a thick Pakistani / Indian accent. These stereotypes misuse slang and sport comically over-sized gangster wear. T-mobile is obviously acting on their perception that these cultures lack "street-cred." The ads are based on the sadly out-dated view that East Asians (and to a lesser degree, whites) are uncool.

Implying that a culture as uncool, or acting on such a stereotype, is deeply irresponsible, even for the advertising world. These ads scream "TONE DEAF."

T-mobile would likely point out that the "cool gang" has members of these ethnicities as well. Their presence in the cool gang, however, is pure tokenism, and they get no lines, and split seconds of screen time, as the "cool" African-American protagonist tells the posers to shove it.

Am I alone on this? Does anyone else think these ads are hateful?

8 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

those ads piss me off.

10:04 PM  
Blogger ptm said...

There's definitely racist underpinnings to it. I don't know if the offensive part is the implication that these Asian people have no street cred or flava, or that it would be a group of Asians are looking to rip you off.

Actually, the most offensive part is that it's not funny. I mean, it it that hard to take Seth Green's schtick from Can't Hardly Wait and make it barely tolerable for 30 seconds? For some companies, apparently it is.

11:08 PM  
Blogger Stewart Porter said...

The Ad is offensive. Also annoying. Though for me the most offensive part to the ad is the socio-economic implications behind their campaign. Who are they advertising to? Well, as it shows in the commercial, a professional looking white male (at least in the more recent one.) But really, they are assuming that African Americans will be purchasing pay-by-minute plans because they don't have the fiscal discipline for a monthly plan.

Plus Asian gangs are pretty hardcore.

1:10 AM  
Blogger Q. Meyers said...

I didn't even think of the idea that the Asians are "looking to rip you off." This makes sense in light of the stereotypes regarding Asian grocers in poor neighborhoods, the "Apu" sterotype about Indians / Pakistanis and overpriced convenient stores. Good call Mr. Stack.

1:03 PM  
Blogger Stewart Porter said...

So it all comes down to a few scenes from Do The Right Thing.

1:22 PM  
Blogger Vladimir Arunovich Ciampi said...

This comes down to making a product universally acknowledged as pretty poor quality seem somehow worthy of branding as "cool." Using worn out stereotypes, and setting them as an "uncool" target to attack seems juvenile. It's like being the sort of uncool kid in high school and making fun of the fat chick who's not going to say anything back to you.

Anyway, given how much we borrow from Asian culture, does it really make sense to say that "they" are stealing from ours? We should definitely consult Quentin Tarantino on this.

4:10 PM  
Blogger uglyagnes said...

I haven't seen that ad, but that kid should have at least been given an actual kangol hat rather than that furry white rip-off.

4:26 PM  
Blogger Stewart Porter said...

Was that Hank in the background of the AOL commercial?

7:38 PM  

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