Michael Jordan Who? The Impact
of Other-Race Contact in Celebrity
Geraldine R. Henderson
Howard University/University of Virginia
Jerome D. Williams
The University of Texas at Austin
As the marketplace becomes moreethnically diverse, the re will bean increased level of advertising that eitherfeatures multiethniccelebrity spokespersons, targets multiethnic consumers, orboth. With moreemphasis placed on courting multicultural consumers, profit-seeking marketers will have to display greater sensitivity to how consumers from different minorityracial or ethnic backgrounds perceive the y are being portrayedin commercial s. Relatedly, the y also must assess howresponsive consumers from majorityracial or ethnic backgroundsaretoa greater use of multiethniccelebrity spokespersons and, more fundamentally, how adeptthey are at even recognizing celebrities from minorityracial or ethnic backgrounds. This becomes particularly criticalwhenamultiethniccelebrity spokesperson is used in advertising that targets both majority and minority consumers and the execution of the advertisement does not identify the celebrity spokesperson. This Creative strategyperhaps is based on the assumption that the celebrity spokesperson isso recognizable that it is not necessary to identify the by name. Implicit inthis assumption is that the celebrity spokesperson may beequally recognizable among both majority and minority consumers. As an illustration of this point, a perusal of several generalinterest print magazine advertisements for the first 6 months of 2003 indicates a number of multiethniccelebrity spokespersons forwhom only their photo is used and not the ir name (e. g., Vanessa Williams in Ebony, June 2003).