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Summer’s Eve In July 2011, Summer’s Eve, a feminine hygiene product,

exasperated “Ayi, Ayi, Aye!” The hand is complaining about

launched a series of 50-second spots under its “Hail to the

traveling, feeling fresh and adds that while it may perform

V” campaign. The spots targeted three racial groups and

miracles, such as having children, it needs a little help from

featured hand-puppet vaginas giving their apparently

time to time. The ad ends with the hand admonishing—in

clueless owners a stern talking-to (Adweek). The spots,

Spanish—her owner’s choice in underwear: “That thong is

however, received their own talking-to when viewers

the tackiest thing I’ve ever seen in my life. And you know

started to complain that the ads reinforced racial stereotypes.

I’ve seen it all’ ” (“Leopard Thong”).

In the “Lady Wowza” spot targeting African-Americans, the hand puppet begins to talk over animated drawings,

This ad personifies stereotypes of Latino woman as overly sexual, mother of a large family and hot-tempered.

saying, “Girl, I’ve seen how much time you spend styling

The final ad, “B.F.F.,” targets the Caucasian women

your hair. And trust me, your hair can’t possibly do what

and is the only one that doesn’t depend on stereotypes to

I, your wunder [sic] down under, can do. …” As the hand

get its message across.

speaks, the animation morphs from one hairstyle to the next, all the while framing the hand as if it is the head. Not only does this ad use stereotypical language and cadence of African-American women­—“Girl,” “Mmmmmhmm” (complete with hand rotation)­—it also reduces them to their sexual organs (Doyle). The “Leopard Thong” ad targeting Latino women also starts with stereotypical language with the woman’s

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All the ads feature hand-drawn text and imagery done in soft hues of purple, yellow, green and blue. The color palette adheres more to Summer’s Eve’s brand than it does to stereotypes of women. Originally, the ad agency, The Richards Group, defended the spots, with founder Stan Richards saying: “We have a wonderful client that recognizes no matter what they do, marketing in the feminine hygiene category is going to

Think Before You Type | The Persistence and Evolution of Racial Stereotypes in Contemporary Design

Think Before You Type by Nancy Palm  

Think Before You Type by Nancy Palm. 2012 Thesis

Think Before You Type by Nancy Palm  

Think Before You Type by Nancy Palm. 2012 Thesis

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