Culture and Subcultures

43 Chapter Reflections

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  1. Disney’s Pocahontas “Colors of the Wind Song” presents many of the stereotypes of the ecologically noble savage. What are these stereotypes? Where else do we see these kinds of depictions?
  2. How do you use cleaning rituals to save lives? Read this New York Times article entitled, “Warning: Habits May Be Good for You” and discuss how rituals can be created and adopted in order to change (in this case, life-saving) behaviours.
  3. Listen to CBC’s Under The Influence Podcast with Terry O’Reilly featuring several marketing examples where rituals have formed consumer habits, cementing the success of many products and brands.
  4. Cultural gatekeepers in Hollywood have been criticized for decades about failing to accurately represent society in their films: “white-washing” is the term used to describe the over-representation of white actors in roles that should be filled by people of colour – especially films in a historical context. Explore the work of Dylan Marrow in his blog titled “Every Single Word” that represents a curation of Hollywood films carefully edited down to only the speaking lines of people of colour (non-white actors). What impact do Hollywood films have on informing culture and influence marketing? Why should this  form of under/over-representation be a concern for marketers? What responsibility do marketers have to reset the balance?
  5. In this book, content contributor Mariah Gladstone generously shares with us an Indigenous perspective on the harm caused by racist mascots. Listen to Jesse Wente’s interview with the CBC’s Matt Galloway about why it’s time to change all racist team names. How are sports marketers failing to inform and influence culture by continuing to market racist names and mascots? Research the #NotYourMascot campaign to learn more.
  6. In 2014, Business Insider identified some of the most egregious examples of racism in marketing and advertising. Discuss marketing’s role and responsibility in marketing with honesty, authenticity, and integrity. How does racism in marketing impact culture and society?
  7. Rituals and rights of passage are important features in identifying and understanding a culture. Read Métis writer Chelsea Vowel’s blog post about the significance of the Hudson Bay Company’s Blanket and consider the importance of ritual and right of passage in her experience.
  8. Contrast and compare the above example with a different perspective on the symbolism surrounding the HBC blanket. Read about and listen to the Secret Life of Canada’s podcast about the HBC blanket How do these two very different examples, experiences, and perspectives demonstrate that pan-Indigenous views are problematic? What lesson should be understood by marketers in these contexts?
  9. Discuss the #SeeHer campaign and why cultural gender-bias in advertising is now an urgent topic of discussion. What brands are committed to addressing gender-bias?
  10. What implications do gender stereotypes in advertising have on the youngest members of society – children? How does marketing inform a child’s understanding of gender roles? Consider this video from MullenLowe Group and discuss what changes need to occur in marketing to “redraw the balance”.
  11. CBC’s Under the Influence podcast is an excellent resource for specific marketing topics explored by marketing and advertising legend, Terry O’Reilly. Listen to, “Guys and Dolls: Gender Marketing” (27 minutes) and discuss the impact it has on society with respect to cultural norms. Do you see this trends continuing or do you anticipate a move towards more neutral marketing representation in the future?
  12. Which brands are targeting consumers who identify as part of a LGBTQ2S+ sub-culture? Subaru has long been analyzed a car company that identified early on that LGBTQ2S+ target markets fulfilled all of the features attractive to marketers: a growing segment; high disposable income; purchasing power; reachable by advertising & promotions. Discuss Subaru’s target marketing strategy and seek out more advertisements that demonstrate their directed ads towards LGBTQ2S+ consumers. How do Subaru’s ads reflect a changes to family structure?
  13. How many people can remember a famous TV commercial by Volkswagen featuring two college-aged men driving around in a VW bug set to the “dah dah dah dah” music? Discuss the significance of this ad and when the advertiser chose to air it for the first time (hint: during the famous “coming out” episode of Ellen). How does VW’s ad reflect a change to family structure?
  14. Who is actively marketing to the transgender consumer market? Do you recall Nike’s ad during the 2016 Rio Olympics that features a transgender athlete? What kind of impact does inclusive advertising have on society and culture’s understanding of transgenders?
  15. When we discuss ethnic sub-cultures, we consider how members share common cultural and/or genetic ties which are recognized by both its members (and others) as a distinct category. Canada is regarded as a heterogeneous society (multi-ethnic) – but do Canadian brands reflect this accurately and honestly? Discuss how Canadian brands are succeeding and failing to be inclusive and reflective of a multi-ethnic society (consider how MEC was confronted with their failure as a leading outdoor brand to feature non-white models in their advertisements).
  16. Read about how the Gap responded to criticism (and extreme racism) around their 2011 “Make Love” campaign. What other mainstream brands are representing ethnic sub-cultures in their marketing?
  17. Create a timeline of cultural appropriation in fashion (or makeup, or body art, or music, …) and discussion the various cultural elements that the dominant culture has taken without consent/credit; used inappropriately; or taken out of proper respectful context from the original culture. This can also be created using H5P. Read through this fashion history timeline for inspiration and ideas.
  18. From Coachilla to Justin Bieber to nearly any Kardashian, there are numerous examples of celebrities who have been accused of cultural appropriation. It seems the examples in fashion are almost endless. Explore the following links to engage in a meaningful discussion on cultural appropriation and consider how marketing plays a critical role in eliminating harmful practices like this one.

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