It Must Bethe Cues: Racial
Differences in Adolescents'
Responses to Culturally
Ohio State University
Amajor goalforproduct and social marketers isto reachyouth with a message the y trust and with which the y can identify. Teenagers, particularly Black teenagers, may well bethe most difficultaudience to reach and persuade with product and public service ads, primarily because teens in generaldoubt messages from mainstream sources and Black teens are particularly skeptical (Fost, 1993).
Thecriticalquestion, the n, isthis: Howdo we get adolescents, particularly Black adolescents, to pay more attention to product and Public service ads? One answer maylie in the characters that Advertisers choose to use inads. The Mosteffective way to reach Black adolescents may bethrough the use of Black characters inads. The use of Black characters inadsmay beaneffective way to reach White youth as well.
In addition to the use of Black characters, adsmay bemademoreeffective by incorporating cultural cues. Cultural cues refer to The values, symbols, ethics, rituals, traditions, material objects, and services produced or by either Black or White members of society that stimulate when, where, and how the y respond. Ads richin cultural cues may be considered culturally embedded, which isconceptualized as the degree to which cultural cues are present in each ad. For example, Black character ads that are highin cultural embeddedness arefilledwith Black cultural cues. Black character ads that are lowin cultural embeddedness contain fewif any Black cultural cues outsidethe race of the character. Likeads