Acura Super Bowl Commercial: Only Light-Skinned Blacks Need Applyhttp://www.tmz.com/2012/04/18/acura-nsx-super-bowl-commercial-seinfeld-light-skinned-black-casting/
Acura Apologizes For Seinfeld Spot Casting Directions: Is It Enough?
Acura apologized today for its successful Jerry Seinfeld Super Bowl commercial. TMZ reported yesterday that the casting sheet for the spot called for an African American actor to be cast who was “nice looking, friendly, not too dark.”Acura’s statement is as follows: We apologize to anyone offended by the language on the casting sheet used in the selection of actors for one of our commercials.
We sought to cast an African-American in a prominent role in the commercial, and we made our selection based on the fact that he was the most talented actor.
The casting sheet was only now brought to our attention. We are taking appropriate measures to ensure that such language is not used again in association with any work performed on behalf of our brand.
The media fire is being fueled by outrage over explicit racial bias in the casting. The truth is that virtually any large brand could be ensnared in this same net. Here are two facts to consider: Brands Don’t Cast
– Brands don’t run the casting process. The brand generally approves a demographic or psychographic profile (e.g. “Professional African-American Male in his Mid-Twenties” or “Angry Soccer Mom”). The agency will then write the casting sheet and conduct casting calls. Profiling Is Common
– Entertainment is one of the few industries where discrimination by gender, race and appearance is customary. It is easy to understand when a tall skinny white man is specified to play Abraham Lincoln or a thin black woman is required to play Condoleezza Rice. But many casting sheets contain directives that people outside the industry would find offensive.Acura’s response is measured
. The company does not apologize for explicitly casting an African-American as that would seem perverse. Acura disclaims knowledge of the directions in the casting sheet while still taking responsibility for the casting process. That seems appropriate. Finally, Acura promises that the language won’t appear again.
What Acura don’t promise, however, is that they won’t discriminate in future casting decisions. They probably will. While the national brand is likely to be wary of its casting choices for some time, there may be holiday ads run from the co-op budget for dealers in New York this year. The New York dealers may want to appeal to both Hispanic and African American consumers, and they’re likely to specify the casting of actors who are “race neutral” meaning that they can appear to be either Hispanic or African-American. This is a real thing; I’ve seen it personally on shoots. The question is whether this is a valid means of reflecting the community of buyers for a brand or just a polite guise for an “ism” (racism, sexism, class-ism).
Acura’s statement suggests that they’re betting that this story will blow over quickly. They may be right. On the other hand, if TMZ has access to other casting sheets with provocative language, the story could mushroom. Then the reality of the entertainment industry would be revealed. If you’re a woman and you’re older, unattractive or not thin, the majority of parts are not open to you. If you have an unusual body type and don’t fit into a common bucket, you’re not getting much work either. Unilever did some interesting work with the Campaign for Real Beauty to combat this trend – but then they were trying to sell Dove beauty products. The next move falls not to Acura, but to TMZ and the thousand hands that hold casting sheets every day.http://www.forbes.com/sites/davidvinjamuri/2012/04/19/acura-apologizes-for-seinfeld-spot-casting-directions-is-it-enough/
Also see; http://newsfeed.time.com/2012/04/20/acura-apologizes-over-casting-request-for-not-too-dark-black-actor/#ixzz297N1BaIS