Effects of ethnic presence in the commercial and public service advertising

Perception and attitudes on national non-immigrant population in Spain

Jesús Bermejo Berros & Esther Martínez Pastor

University of Valladolid and Universtity Rey Juan Carlos. Spain


The aim of this research is to ascertain whether the presence of people from different ethnic backgrounds in commercials and institutional advertising influences the attitudes of native receptors, helping to change the level of persuasion of the advertising message based on the source. This study carried out an experiment by selecting two ads in press - one from a commercial campaign and one from a public service campaign - and creating four versions of the two approaches by introducing different ethnic sources (Spanish, Latin American, North African and sub-Saharan). These were shown to 124 young native Spanish people, to understand their perception of and attitude towards them. The results show that there is a differential perception of the ads based on whether these are commercial or public service in nature. We also found a differential attitude toward the ad, depending on which source of which ethnicity appears as a character.

Keywords: Immigration, ethnic minority, commercial advertising, public service advertising (PSA), perception, attitudes


The phenomenon of immigration in Spain has taken on notable importance since the year 2000. In the last decade, the immigrant population increased considerably, rising from 801,329 immigrant residents in 2000 to 5.3 million in 2008 (Pajares, 2009). Among the largest immigrant groups residing in Spain are Latin Americans(Ecuadorians and Columbians), Moroccans, (Pajares, 2010). According to the data of the Spanish National Institute of Statistics (Instituto Nacional de Estadística, or INE), immigration accounts for 12% of the Spanish population.

This population increase has caused special interest in this target among advertisers. It is a new market niche that can be conquered (Arroyo and van Wyk, 2011; Baladrón, 2011, Johnson & Grier, 2011). Among the first advertisers who recently jumped to capture this target audience are telephone companies, banks, airlines and the food sector (Vizcaíno Ochoa, 2008). The first advertising agencies devoted to the ethnic sector have been created (Franco, 2010). In addition, public authorities and agencies have invested in campaigns aimed at integration and awareness-raising (Author B and Vizcaíno-Laorga 2008, Gaona and Author B 2010, Álvarez et al. 2009). However, in parallel with this phenomenon of investment in advertising and from the viewpoint of our research, while there are numerous studies on how stereotypes and the values of immigrants are represented in the media (Vázquez, 1999; Ruíz, Medina and García, 2001; Martínez and Santín, 2009), there is little research available on the impact of the presence of immigrants in advertising, both in our cultural environment - marked by mass immigration in the last few years - and in other European countries, where mass immigration occurred a few decades earlier (Johnson & Grier, 2011).

In countries such as the United States, where immigration happened before, this reality has been faced since the last century with the African-American population (Schilinger and Plummer 1972, Sturdivant 1973, Chodhury and Schmid 1974, Quallls and Grier 1995, O´Barr 1994, Holland and Gentry 1999), the Hispanic population (Guinn et al., 1985, Koslow 1994, Torres and Brigg 2007) and the Asian population (Appiah and Liu, 2009). There are numerous studies which focus on the perception that immigrants have of advertising. We find two main lines of research.

One focuses on the impact of commercial advertising aimed at ethnic groups. Koslow et al. (1994) took the theory of accommodation as their starting point to find out the response of Hispanics to the language used in advertising. (Green, 1999) and Lee and Begley (2010) investigated the perception by African Americans and Hispanics of pharmaceutical commercials and compared it with the response of white Americans. Appiah analysed the influence and the response of models of racial representation in advertising with black and white adolescents (Appiah 2001), with Americans and Asians (Appiah and Liu 2009), and with virtual subjects from different ethnic backgrounds (Gong et al., 2010). Dimofte et al. (2004) analysed the influence of advertising on social identification and social response related to language and Torres and Brigg (2007) studied attitudes according to identification with the ethnic group.

The second line of research focuses on the creation of effective campaigns aimed at immigrants. Holland and Gentry (1997) took as their starting point the theory of intercultural accommodation to create advertising messages and Lee et al. (2002) studied the influence of including an ethnic model in product advertising to increase brand memory, empathy and positive attitudes towards the brand. Other research, such as that by O’Guinn et al. (1985), focused on the television medium to analyse the tastes of Hispanic immigrants or took as its starting point the theory of acculturation to explain foreigners’ adaptation in their country of destination (Palumbo and Teich, 2004). Taylor recently proposed three stages of research on advertising and minorities: level of representation of minority models in advertising and degree of stereotyped portrayals, designing effective advertising when targeting minorities, and multiculturalism (Taylor, 2011).

However, in this panorama, where new directions for research on targeting minority groups have been outlined (Taylor, 2011), research into finding out the perception by the native population of advertising featuring different ethnic groups is scarce (Schlinger and Plummer 1972, Qualls and Grier 1995, Whittles and DiMeo 1991), particularly in Europe, and non-existent in the case of Spain. Therefore, we shall focus on discovering what the Spanish think about the representation of the Other in advertising, their thoughts prompted by the social change occurring in the past ten years and the sharp increase in immigrants who are looking for work.

This research framework, in a time of economic crisis, opens the discussion about the possibility of including the immigrant population as a target of advertising at the current time and about educational and social integration policies.


Unlike previous studies, particularly in the USA, where research has been done on different ethnic populations which have been established in the country for a long time (African-Americans, Chinese), our work has the interesting feature of studying work-induced immigration settlements that are a recent occurrence and are still in the process of integrating in a European context.


The general objective of this research study is to investigate the influence that the presence of ethnic sources of immigrant non-European community populations of Latin-Americans, natives of the Maghreb and Sub-Saharans (black Africans) in advertising and the perception of this in white national non-immigrant populations.

A first specific objective would be to investigate if the presence of sources of a different origin in commercial and pubic service advertisements influences the attitudes of their audience (McKenzie & Lutz, 1989) and the persuasive degree of the advertising message according to the source used (Whittler and Spira, 2002; Author A, 2004). The choice of two different types of advertising - commercial and institutional - is due to our interest in finding out if the subjects perceive the presence of ethnic groups differently depending on the advertising purpose. In the case of commercial advertising, the advertiser's purpose is of a lucrative nature, whether this be to boost sales of its product or service or to strengthen its brand image, whereas institutional advertising has to serve the interests of citizens in social or cultural issues, among others. Through this experiment, we are attempting to find out if the advertising purpose is identified by recipients, how they perceive it and how it could possibly influence their attitudes towards the adverts.

A second, new, objective of this research is to discover attitudes towards different types of ethnic sources (black, Latino, European) compared to fictional sources. The study of attitudes towards different ethnicities in fictional series has received much attention (Park et al. 2006, Banjo, 2011, Thornton, 2011). In fact, advertising makes abundant use of fictional sources, such as famous actors from fictional series. However, little attention has been paid to this dimension of advertising. It is therefore of interest to investigate if the effectiveness of advertising changes - and how - when the fictional source of white European origin is replaced with another white European but anonymous source, or when it is replaced by other anonymous sources, this time of different ethnic origins. This procedure makes it possible to gain more knowledge about the role played by the various advertising sources on the perceptions and attitudes of recipients with the same ethnic origin as the national, white, European source.

The results of this research can also be used in the study through advertising of prejudices towards immigrants in Spain. This is of particular interest in the present era, where the economic crisis is giving rise to the emergence of far-right movements and political parties in Europe which are against immigration.


124 Spanish university students, men and women aged between 19 and 22, took part in this research. The study took place between the months of June and October 2011.


The general hypothesis considers that there are differential perceptions and attitudes towards the ads in which different characters of ethnic origins of immigrant populations appear.

H1: There will be differences between the attitudes towards different versions of the same advert. The attitudes towards the advertisement will be, from greater to lesser, the following:

Spanish (white European) and well-known actor, House (white) > Latin-Americans > Maghrebi > black Africans

This hypothesis, H1, propounds that the greater the difference between the source's physical features and the subject's own features, the less favourable the attitudes of the subjects of this study - white Europeans - will be towards the ethnic source appearing in the advert. Thus, the physical features of black people are those which differ the most from European features and therefore will generate the least favourable attitudes.

H2: Differences will be found in the characteristics attributed to the different ethnic sources in the advertisements that justify the perceptions of the subjects. The greater the difference between the physical features of the ethnic source of the advertisement and those of the subject, the more negative these attributed characteristics will be.

Additionally to H1, hypothesis H2 studies the subjects' reasons for having adopted the attitude they showed towards the different adverts. Just as with H1, hypothesis H2 propounds that the source that will be rated the lowest will be that where the character is black.

The confirmation of these two complementary hypotheses would indicate that the subjects are managing stereotypes in their perception of the adverts and that these are unfavourable to ethnic sources comprising groups of immigrants whose facial features differ from those of the native population.

H3: For the institutional campaign, the subjects will change their perception and the attitudes that they had shown towards the different ethnic sources of the commercial campaign, adapting them now to the advertising purposes of the institutional campaign addressing the social integration of immigrants.

This hypothesis raises the question of the stability of stereotypes and how they are revealed in different contexts. When the campaign is not for commercial purposes but has the institutional aim of integrating immigrants into society and, in addition, uses the ethnic source as a persuasive factor, the subjects will modify their attitudes and adapt them to this new advertising context.

H4: The closer the ethnical similarities between the character and the subject, the higher their rating when deciding whether to include the character in an advertising campaign.

This hypothesis also allows us to test the stability of the perceptions and attitudes shown by native population towards different immigrant ethnic groups.


Using an advertisement from a commercial campaign by Schweppes which features the main character from the series “House” (Cf. Figure 1), we made four versions of the advert by introducing the face of a Spaniard (white European), a Latin-American, a native of the Maghreb, and a black African (Cf. Figure 2). In selecting the images, we looked for images those where the physical features that allow the subject to identify the ethnic origin of the source were clearly shown in the faces appearing in the advert. Furthermore, the faces chosen were all showing the facial expressions that appeared in the original campaign. As is common in many commercial advertising campaigns, in this study the faces were smiling and happy.

Finally, the advantage of this Schweppes campaign was that the advert is bare of codes and organizes the persuasive message based on the source (Bermejo, 2004); it is precisely the influence of the source on the subject's attitudes towards the advert (McKenzie and Lutz, 1989) that we want to investigate.

On a computer, through the use of the SuperLab4.0 computer program, the subjects was were shown these images in a random order and asked different questions that explored their perception and attitudes with regard to these advertisements. Their answers, given through the computer keyboard, were registered on a data-base for subsequent analysis.

During the same session, in a second phase, the subject carried out the same procedure once again but now the source advert was that of an institutional campaign aimed at integrating immigrants (Cf. Figure 3). Four versions were also created of this advertisement (Cf. Figure 4).

By way of illustration, two of the eight images that were manipulated and presented to the subjects during the experiment are included in this article (Cf. Figures 2 and 4).

In the session, and for each of the two advertising types, the subject had to respond to three questions. Firstly, the subject was asked to assess, one after the other, the different versions of the advert that were appearing on the screen, both quantitatively (semantic differential from -5 to +5) and qualitatively, explaining the reasons for their score. Next, all the images were shown together and the subject was asked which image they preferred, which they liked the least and the reasons why. Finally, the subject was asked which they through was the best advert for an advertising campaign. This procedure was carried out again with the adverts from the second advertising type, either commercial or institutional, depending on the subjects.

Figure 1:
Commercial campaign: “House”

Figure 2:
Commercial campaign: Black African

Figure 3:
Institutional campaign: Maghrebi

Figure 4: Institutional campaign:
Spaniard (white European)


Study 1a: commercial campaign

The first question refers to the attitude of the subjects to each of the different versions of the Schweppes commercial, which were shown to them successively (evaluating each of them in a semantic differential). The only advert which obtained a slightly positive average attitude was that of the fictional character, House, whose average score was 0.29 out of a maximum of 5 points. For the rest of the adverts, the attitude was negative: European (-0.27), Maghrebi (-0.97), Latin-American (-0.84), black African (-1.08). The difference between these scores is significant: (European t = 2.043 sig045; Maghrebi t = 4.481 sig000; Latin-American t = 4.458 sig000; black African t = 5.503 sig000). Therefore, in accordance with H1, there is a differential attitude, depending on the ethnic origin of the source.

To explore H2, we separated the arguments given by the subjects to justify their positive and negative attitudes. The positive arguments are grouped into three response categories (table 1, see Appendix). In the first (P), the subject made reference to some positive characteristic of the character (nice, funny, transmits energy, humour, etc.). In a second type of response (A), there was an assessment of the execution of some component of the advert (layout, quality of the composition, relationship between text/image, slogan, etc.). Finally, in a third type of response (E), the subject evaluated the advert by the reaction it inspired in them and which they expressed globally without referring to any component of the advert (for example, it doesn’t interest them, it appeals to sex, it scared them, etc.). The subjects justified their attitudes to these Schweppes adverts using above all the first type of response (P), and this was true for all the adverts, as it accounts for 76.2% of all the arguments used. The most frequently invoked argument was the friendliness of the character (P2) which accounts for, by itself, 37% of the total number of arguments. It was the argument most used for House, the European and the Maghrebi character. For the Latin-American character, it was that the character transmitted force and dynamism (P7). For the black African character, the argument was that he appeared to be somebody full of good humour (P8).

With respect to the criteria to justify their negative attitude, the subjects also used the same three categories (Table 2, see Appendix). Here, also, attitude was based above all on the perception of the character featuring in the advert (59.7% of the 414 arguments used by the subjects), although it decreased with respect to its use when justifying their positive attitude. The subject turned now somewhat more to the execution of the advert to support their negative attitude (34.3%). Among the arguments used, the following stand out: the lack of likeableness of the character (P1), which appears in 23.4% of the total of arguments used, or that the character does not transmit energy (12.5%). In addition, the A1 argument stands out (15%), this argument referring to deficiencies in design, in the general composition of the advert and the integration of its elements. Therefore, the differential attitude of the subjects to the advertisements, both in their positive and their negative attitudes, rests above all on their perception of some aspect of the character featuring in this advertisement.

The second question that we raised with the subject is complementary to what we have been analysing thus far. Now, all the versions were shown at the same time on the same screen and the subject was asked to choose the one they liked the most and the one they liked the least. In this way, the subject can revise the attitude they have shown previously in the first showing of the adverts on the screen. The results to this second question corroborate the previous results. Now, half of the subjects preferred the advertisement featuring House (n = 60), followed at some distance by the European (35), the Latin-American (14), the Maghrebi (12) and the black African character (3). Although the average score of the assessment has risen a little with respect to the initial assessment, it continues to be low and maintains the hierarchy of the assessments that we analysed above. House obtained an average of 1.44 out of a maximum of 5; the European, 0.73; the Latin-American, 0,27; the Maghrebi, 0.24; and the black African, 0.13. The differences are significant (House t = 6.103 sig. ,000; European t = 4.138 sig000; Maghrebi t = 2.502 sig015; Latin-American t= 2.425 sig018; black African t = 1.051).

The choice of the advert that they liked the least reflects the same tendency (the black African character was given the worst assessment) (-2.98 out of a maximum of 5 points, followed by the Maghrebi (-0.73), Latin-American (-0.44), European (-0.26) and House (-0.08). (House t = -.962 sig240; European t = -2.123 sig038; Maghrebi t = -4.069 sig000; Latin-American t = -3.218 sig002).

Finally, in response to the question asking which of the adverts they considered to be most suitable for an advertising campaign for this product, 58 subjects chose House and 4 subjects chose the European, whereas none chose the other three characters. Insofar as the average score given to each one is concerned, we have: House, 1.45; European, 1.40; Maghrebi, 0.50; Latin-American, .00; and black African, - 2.00) (House t= 5.254 sig000; European t= 2.232 sig050; Maghrebi t= 1.000 sig500; black African t= -1.000 sig. -2.000).

To the question of which was the worst advert for a campaign, the order of results is logically the other way around: of the 124 subjects, 53 chose the Maghrebi; 45 chose the black African character; 14 chose the Latin-American, 13 chose the European, and no-one chose House. The average score given is a score of –1.75 for the black African character. -1.86; Maghrebi -1.67; European -1.40; House 0.00) (black African t= -5.158 sig000; Latin-American t= -1.982 sig095; Maghrebi t= -5.264 sig000).

Among the ten types of arguments that were used to choose House, most noteworthy were the arguments of him being considered a leader of opinion (65.5% of the total number of responses in which House was chosen), that he transmits energy (7.1%), light-heartedness (4.8%), and that there is a link between the brand and the character (6.9%). Those subjects that chose the European did so because they considered him to be funny or perfect for the campaign as he is an anonymous character.

In conclusion, hypothesis H1 is confirmed: there is a differential attitude towards the advertisement depending on whether it features a character of one ethnic origin or another. The attitude is more negative the further the physical features of the character are from the European model. Moreover, as was raised in H2, the differences in the national subjects' perception of the characteristics they attribute to the different ethnic sources represent one of the main factors in their attitudes towards the adverts, above other factors such as the execution of the advert.

Study 1b: institutional campaign

In the second part of the experimental session, exactly the same phases as in the first part were reproduced, but this time using the institutional campaign (Cf. Figures 3-4). The fictional character was eliminated and new characters were introduced, all of them anonymous and representing each one of the groups of immigrants selected. We shall present here some of the more noteworthy results of this second part.

In first place, the attitude of the subjects, from more positive to less positive, produced this order: black African, an average score of 1.47 out of a maximum of 5; Maghrebi and Latin-American, 0.97; European, 0.21 (black African t= 5.809 sig000; Maghrebi t = 3.780 sig000; Latin-American t= 3.842 sig000; European t= .629 sig532).

We found here once again the three response categories that we saw for the Schweppes commercial, but the proportion between them and above all the arguments that support them vary (table 3, see Appendix). The perception of the character is a less important determination than the benefit of the quality in execution of the advertisement (45% and 52.6% respectively). This greater importance of the factors concerning the execution of the advert are almost the only arguments used to reject the institutional campaign, accounting for 83.5% of the total number of rejecting arguments (table 4, see Appendix).

As regards the reasons for accepting the adverts, there are some common arguments to all of them. For example, in their acceptation (Table 3, see Appendix), a common argument was the fact that a good image is given of the immigrant (P2) - this is very present in the adverts that feature the Maghrebi, the Latin-American and the black African (37% of the total number) - or that the campaign has a positive aim, such as seeking equality, integration, giving hope, humanitarianism, etc. (A2). When rejecting (table 4, see Appendix), the following arguments stand out: the subject considered the campaign to be of insufficient quality to cause an impact on the reader for reasons such as lack of plausibility, unsuitable message, deficient layout or colour (A4-, A5-, A6-). There were also some arguments that are more specific for each character. For example, when rejecting, the responses showed that the advertisement featuring the Maghrebi provoked fear, a feeling of insecurity in the subject (E2, table 4, see Appendix). In acceptance, there was suitable adjustment of the message to the European character (A1, table 3, see Appendix).

With respect to the third question, the subjects considered that the best advertising for a campaign is in this order: black African, 2.43 points on average out of a maximum of 5; Latin-American, 2.23; Maghrebi, 2.19; European, .50 (black African t= 7.100 sig000; Latin-American t=4.941 sig000; Maghrebi t= 5.775 sig000; European t= .499 sig630). This result for this third question is the inverse result to the one we presented for the equivalent question regarding commercial advertising.

Therefore, as was propounded in hypothesis H3, subjects have a different perception of, and different attitudes towards, ethnic sources depending on the purpose of the campaign. When the purpose is commercial, the subject prioritises racial similarity with the source. When the purpose is institutional, the subject modifies the previous attitude and adapts it to the institutional purposes of the campaign. This result is additional to that considered in the third question that the subjects were asked. For them, the best commercial is the one featuring a source with an ethnic origin that is close to their own, whether the character is fictional or anonymous. However, when the institutional purpose of the advert is the integration of immigrants, the most persuasive campaign, according to the subjects, is one in which the immigrant appears, and the greater the difference in the physical features of the native population and the source, the better. This confirms hypothesis H4 and brings a nuance to it. The advertising efficiency of the campaign is considered to be better the closer the source is to the subject, depending on the intention of the campaign and, in second place, regardless of whether the source is fictional or anonymous.

Discussion and Conclusion

Initial results showed that the greater the difference between the physical features of the source of immigrant ethnic origin and the subjects' own features, the more negative is the native population perception and attitude towards the advertisement and the source. This result coincides and converges with others found in the USA, with racial minorities who have been established in the country for a longer period. As Appiah and Liu (2009) pointed out, studies in the USA have shown that high levels of similarity between the viewer and characters in advertisements increase the viewer’s belief that he/she is the intended audience of advertisements, which in turn leads to more positive attitudes about the ad and the product (Aaker, Brumbaugh, and Grier 2000). We agree with Appiah and Liu (2009) that one theoretical framework that may better explain how ethnic minority and ethnic majority groups are likely to respond to media messages featuring ethnically similar and dissimilar advertising characters is Kelman’s (1961) identification process of social influence. It suggests that people instinctively determine their level of similarity with an information source and make similarity assessments during interactions (Hovland and Weiss 1951; Kelman 1961). When encountering a source, this process motivates people to select sources they perceive as similar to themselves (Basow and Howe 1980; Kelman 1961). Moreover, perceiving that a source possesses a specific characteristic similar to one’s own (e.g. gender, race) can lead one to begin inferring that the source will also share other characteristics, which can heighten identification (Feick and Higie 1992). One significant cue of similarity between a viewer and the character in an ad is race or ethnicity. The literature demonstrates that race is a salient cue and an important characteristic for ethnic minorities when making similarity judgments (see Phinney 1989). The accommodation theory also would allow us to understand and explain the current results (Koslow et al., 1994; Holland and Gentry, 1997).

In this discussion, the current study would also demonstrate that, on the one hand, physical features are an indicator used by the subject to identify race and determine their attitude, and on the other hand, the differential perception of the ethnic sources in which certain features stand out indicates that other factors intervene in the national subject's attitude in addition to the perception of the physical difference between the two. As appeared in the results, the subjects considered the most amusing ad to be that in which a black man appears, and the most energetic and dynamic ad to be that featuring a Latin American man. In contrast, it is noteworthy that the advert which gives rise to fear and defiance is that with the image of the Maghrebi (North African) man. This indicates the presence of complex factors of a cultural and intercultural nature (by association in these cases of the Maghrebi (North African) with Islamic fundamentalism).

This first type of results could make one think that the attitude towards the advert, influenced by this process of racial identification, would depend on the subject's racial stereotypes. However, the result of this study, which demonstrates the mobility and inversion of the subject's attitude towards sources of immigrant origin in commercial and institutional advertising, would indicate that attitude towards the advert featuring sources of non-native population origin does not depend solely on racial attitudes. The attitude would not be monolithic. It is more complex and involves participation of the function and the purpose of the advertising message. There is a differential perception between the commercial campaign and the institutional campaign. In the first, the role of the character is most important in the attitude of the subject. There is, for the subject, a separation between the advertisement itself and the subject’s relationship with the brand. The advertisement can be evaluated independently of its commercial function. In this case, the weight of the ethnic origin of the source is very important. On the other hand, in the institutional campaign, the advert is judged fundamentally according to how well the advert has been made and the aim of the campaign. The character featuring in it is seen as forming part of the aims of the advertisement. These differences indicate at least two things. Firstly, they indicate that the perception of the immigrant is not monolithic and fixed. It does not function exclusively according to the attitude the subject has towards the immigrant. Subjects adapt their attitude to the objectives of the campaign. Secondly, these results demonstrate that there are differences in perception of commercial and institutional campaigns that will have to be taken into account, especially in those cases in which characters of a different ethnic origin to the national ethnic origin participate. The confirmation of hypothesis H3, considered in isolation, could make one think that the subjects do not manage stereotypes in relation to the ethnic origin of the immigrants, as they give priority to the purposes of the campaign. However, the confirmation of hypotheses H1 and H2 precludes that statement. The results indicate that the subjects perceived the institutional campaign based on its purpose (message) and the source factor was pushed into the background. In accordance with classic theories of persuasion (Hovland et al. 1953, Perloff, 2010), the subjects would have taken into account in the commercial campaign the source factor and in the institutional campaign the message factor. This means that the attitudes that manage stereotypes in relation to the Schweppes advertising campaign go undetected in the institutional campaign.

An additional point to the discussion above shows that the perception and attitude of the white national subjects towards the ethnic minorities is not based on the number of immigrants present in the country, but on the degree of similarity with their physical characteristics. The Latin-American immigrant community is the most numerous one in Spain, followed by the North African (Maghreb) community and lastly by the sub-Saharan community, which is a far less numerous. However, as the results show, there is no relationship between an attitude of rejection and the number of immigrants of an ethnic community. The Maghreb and sub-Saharan communities are the least numerous and yet they receive the least favourable attitudes. This result coincides and converges with the discussion above and indicates that the degree of similarity between the physical features of the source and the subject constitutes an explanatory factor of attitudes and perceptions with regard to the adverts.

It would be interesting to prolong this study with another type of public service campaign in which immigrants are not the targets of the message. This would allow us to go deeper into the image of immigrants in Europe through their presence in advertising. It would also allow us to look deeper into the processes of identification based on the context (Brumbaugh, 2009), as well as the type of persuasive factor through credibility or through the attractiveness of the source, based on whether it is fictional or anonymous.

In a time of crisis such as this, which will not prevent the continuous flow of people of different ethnic origins from one place to another, attitudes of rejection could become more acute. It is therefore necessary to continue to investigate the presence of these sources in different media to better understand the processes of perception of these identities. This could result not only in enhancing the advertising efficiency of the messages but, from a social perspective, in understanding and improving relations between people.


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Table 1: Justification of positive attitude toward commercials based on the ethnicity of the source (N = 124)

Arguments to justify attitudeHouseEuropeanMaghrebiLatin- AmericanBlack AfricanTotal
P1 transmits energy1034118
P2 friendliness of the character323921122106
P3 character unknown88
P4 can identify1212
P5 national stereotype4812
P6 indicates origin73414
P7 transmits force/dynamism24226
P8 humour1818
P9 colour44
P =76.2%
A1 layout9211
A2 intentionality66
A3 right image77
A4 original11
A5 appropriate text33
A= 9.8%
E1 produces indifference511910338
E2 sex appeal22
E= 14%

Table 2: Justification of negative attitude toward commercials ads based on the ethnicity of the source

Arguments to justify attitudeHouseEuropeanMaghrebiLatin- AmericanBlack AfricanTotal
P1 lack of likeableness of the character1425283097
P2 character unknown2424
P3 transmits no energy25891052
P4 stereotype22
P5 foreign261137
P6 internationalization11
P7 serious3434
P = 59.7%
A1 deficiencies in layout238211062
A2 deficient colour of ad13316
A3 no relationship between image / product1581740
A4 poor execution of commercial1414
A5 text indicates the origin7310
A = 34.3%
E1 creates fear66
E2 absurd sexual appeal88
E3 offensive1111
E = 6%

Table 3: Justification of positive attitude toward PSA based on the ethnicity of the source

Arguments to justify attitudeEuropeanMaghrebiLatin- AmericanBlack AfricanTotal
P1 source has been removed156
P2 positive image of the immigrant2411649108
P3 pleasant77
P4 looks like a leader of opinion33
P5 young55
 P= 45%
A1 right message1919
A2 campaign has a positive aim25244817114
A3 break down prejudices22
A4 layout5218
A5 black and white colour246
A6 suitability for the target112
 A= 52.6%
E1 pain22
E2 impact55
E= 2.4%

Table 4: Justification of negative attitude toward PSA based on the ethnicity of the source

Arguments to justify attitudeEuropeanMaghrebiLatin- AmericanBlack AfricanTotal
P1- rejection of ethnic group29516
P= 5.2%
A1- cross the origin in the text174324
A2- political message22
A3- stereotype698427
A4- deficient layout24226
A5- ad dark20112657
A6- the campaign does not impact4829378122
A= 83.5%
E1- derision235
E2- threatening, fear, insecurity21223
E3- pain, sadness527
E= 11.3%

About the Authors

Jesús Bermejo Berros, Professor of Advertising Psychology, Director of LipsiMedia (Laboratory of Advertisement Research and Psychology of Media. University of Valladolid). University of Valladolid.

Esther Martínez Pastor, Senior Lecture of Introduction to Advertising, Public Relation and Audiovisual Comunication. Universtity Rey Juan Carlos. Spain

Author’s Address

Esther Martínez Pastor
Coordinadora de Publicidad y RR.PP.
Universidad Rey Juan Carlos
Facultad de Ciencias de la Comunicación
Camino del Molino s/n
Campus de Fuenlabrada
28943 Madrid - Spain
Telf 91 488 87 00