RNA Blog

Monday Jul. 11, 2011

Outdoor advertising in Black neighborhoods

We have published work on outdoor advertising in Black neighborhoods. Our work in Central Harlem, NYC, showed that 25% of all ad spaces marketed alcoholic beverages; that as many as 50% of alcohol ads were within 500 ft of schools (despite purported internal guidelines among outdoor advertisers not to do so); and that exposure to alcohol advertising was associated with 13% greater odds of being a problem drinker among Black women. Some examples of alcohol ads in the city are shown here.

Alcohol continues to be aggressively marketed in Black neighborhoods throughout the country, it's not just NYC. These photos show examples from West Philly and Chicago's South Side. Indeed, alcohol marketing appears to be paradigmatic for outdoor advertising in Black communities. For example, JC Decaux has an African American market segment, the "African American network", which comprises the African American population in Chicago.(click title to continue)

Bus shelters are the medium; an effective strategy in such a segregated city. To illustrate, JC Decaux depicts a bus shelter with a Tanqueray ad (which, incidentally, we saw in our research in Harlem). They could have had any product in that photo to show what bus shelters look like. Anything at all. They chose to use alcohol. Here's a screenshot of the photo, lest the website changes.

Similarly, Clear Channel's media kit for the African American market in Houston prominently features a large bulletin for Ciroc.

In more uplifting uses of outdoor advertising, the MAK Center for Art and Architecture ran an exhibit entitled "How Many Billboards", in which they use art to "periodically displace advertisement in the urban environment." We'll be adding the exhibition book to the RNA library.


Enjoyed your presentation for POP this Thursday. My interest are in "green building" and "environmental justice." I can see a correlation in your work and environmental justice issues....!

Looking forward on hearing about your research following your new advertising campaign.
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