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The Rise of Advertising That’s Multicultural

Carnival Cruise Lines sets a great new course
  • February 06 2012

What’s the future of advertising in the multicultural world in which we live? I officially predict the fall of multicultural advertising and the rise of advertising that’s multicultural.

Riding the PATH train last week from New York to Hoboken, I spied a great ad for Carnival Cruise Lines. It featured a couple on a ship having fun in the pool. The man was a light-skinned Hispanic male while the Hispanic woman was dark skinned. But that was not the first thing I noticed. The first thing I noticed was this fun-loving couple enjoying each other on a Carnival Cruise.

The ad has as much meaning to members of the Hispanic community who see it as it does for me, a White Boomer. Hispanics get to see themselves represented in an ad for a mainstream brand—more popular and prevalent in today’s landscape but still not the norm. I saw a couple having fun and thought it might be a good idea to follow in their footsteps. I could certainly use a trip to the Caribbean.

It was one of the first ads I can remember seeing that crosses cultures in such a simple, honest and successful way. Unselfconsciously. So many marketers still make the mistake of continuing to market in silos.

Carnival touched everyone in one execution, without trying to prove a point. And, it likely made members of the new majority feel pretty valued in the process.

The ad finally made the lyrics sung by Jack Jones from 1977 to 1985 and Dionne Warwick from 1985 to 1986 ring true. “Love, exciting and new. Come aboard. We’re expecting you … The Love Boat promises something for everyone.”

On my crowded train, I enjoyed the reprieve (and memories) the ad provoked. I was also proud of our industry for reaching out to all Americans, the majority becoming the minority and the minority becoming the majority.

 

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