Professional Luncheon Takeaways

The Positives of the U.S. Census

Mere weeks before my graduation from NAU (and my subsequent departure from Flagstaff) the 2010 Census was in full-swing. I, a somewhat rebellious, soon-to-be college graduate who didn’t call Flagstaff home, pondered purpose of my Census voice, especially since I had already begun packing to be able to head home (to Tucson).

Quite honestly, I still don’t understand the point of me saying I was a Flagstaff resident–I’m not there any more. My person could have been much better counted in Tucson, at least I was planning on calling that place home for a little bit longer.

Today, I attended the November Luncheon for American Advertising Federation Nashville (AAFN). Guest speaker, Dr. Leobardo Estrada with UCLA, spoke on the impact the soon-to-be released 2010 census data will have on the advertising/communication industries.

During his presentation, Estrada stressed the idea that, as advertising professionals, we need to consider other ethnicities as our main target audiences. From his data, he made note of 16 states that represent a majority of the population increase in America. For instance, the population in Arizona has increased around 24 percent from 2000 to 2010; Tennessee’s increased around 9 percent. A majority of the people who represent the increased number belong to an ethnicity other than white.

One thing I noticed (independent from the lecture) was that I represented one of a handful of younger professionals present at the luncheon. Another was that many questions were asked regarding mixed couples in advertising and racial identity with brands. The two may not go hand-in-hand, but I wouldn’t look twice at an ad featuring a mixed couple nor would I identify more with a brand based on the ethnicity of the models in the ads. Maybe that’s just me or maybe it’s not.

In my opinion, Millennials are more tolerant of each other, regardless of race. We were raised, or at least I was, to accept each other as equals–no more, no less. Things that other generations may notice like the ethnicity of a model in an ad may affect their decision-making about a product, but not ours.

In short, the numbers may show that we need to start marketing to broader ranges of ethnicities due to their increased numbers in society. But, maybe it’s time to start shifting the ads anyway because we’re at a point when an age group has entered the market who doesn’t identify with products or companies based on ethnicity, but rather they choose to identify with a product because they can and want to.

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