Racial Stereotypes in Advertising are Alive and Well

A new ad campaign for the New York International Latino Film Festival makes fun of Latino stereotypes in an effort to draw attention to the many clichés about Latinos in the movies. One ad features a chart with the varying roles Latinas have played in films, with “maid” beating out such categories as surgeon and judge.

But while the film fest is attempting to create dialogue about these tired Latino depictions, other companies just keep on propagating them. Here’s a sampling:

Summer’s Eve Says Latinas are Easy

We recently wrote about feminine hygiene company Summer’s Eve “empowerment” campaign, “Hail to the V,” featuring vertical talking vagina hands of different ethnicities. The leopard thong-wearing Latina va-jay-jay says “ay yay yay” and “boo” and its proud owner wears bright red lipstick. As if that wasn’t offensive enough, she’s also “seen it all.”

Coors Alludes to Puerto Ricans As Drunks

Created for New York’s National Puerto Rican Day Parade, MillerCoors “Emborícuate” ad campaign was a play on the Spanish word “emborracharse” or “get drunk,” which led many to think that the beer company was equating being Puerto Rican with being drunk. The ad was eventually pulled.

Kleenex Depicts Latinas as Coming from Enormous Families

In 2009, Kleenex tackled cold season with their “Get Mommed” campaign featuring eight different ethnic mothers to nurse you back to health. The Latina mom, Ana Maria, dressed in a bright outfit, loved to make salsa and had a big ol’ familia. “I grew up with an extended family of aunts, uncles, great-aunts, cousins, grandmas, you name it,” she says.

Tecate Calls Latinas Hot

Cinco de Mayo 2004 brought along a supposedly “tongue-in-cheek” Tecate billboard that showed a chilled bottle of beer with the words “Finally, a cold Latina.” The message: Latinas are muy hot and overly sexual. The result: We’d rather drink Corona.

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About this author

Grace Bastidas, Deputy Editor

Born and raised in Queens, New York, where more languages are spoken than anywhere in the world, Grace Bastidas is Latina’s Deputy Editor. She oversees lifestyle content, including topics as diverse as career, health and relationships, and occasionally writes about her own experiences in The Good Life section. As a writer, Grace’s work has appeared in The New York TimesNew York magazine, The Wall Street Journal and Travel + Leisure. She is fluent in Spanish.

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