Thursday, August 16, 2007

Intel's message to Black America: Who's Your Daddy

I came close to pulling the Intel Pentium chip out of my Dell Latitude D600 laptop. I was so dismayed by the company’s new advertising campaign that I decided to write a blog post a day early. This matter couldn’t wait another day.

Above is the ad depicting six African American athletes bowing to a white dude wearing khaki pants and an oxford shirt. To some it may appear that the bold headed colored boys are preparing to sprint to the finish line, but for those with a more critical eye, these bold headed Mandingos are submitting to their master in what appallingly resembles a slave ship. Adding insult to the ad is the fact that the white guy isn’t even wearing a suit and tie. The message I’m left with is simple-it’s a white man’s world. Bow sucker!

“Have you seen this!!!??? Damn!,” was the message I received with the e-mail from my friend Mariann Aalda that introduced me to the ad. Aalda is a socially conscious woman who has endured her share of discrimination as an actress. She made history as the first African American female to have a steady role on a soap opera. She played DiDi Bannister, a criminal attorney, on the ABC soap opera Edge of Night. She’s seen her share of insensitivity in the entertainment business, making her Damn! At the end of her message more meaningful.

Damn, are the executives at Intel that stupid? Damn, could it be that they are so comfortable in their market share that they could care less about how black folks feel? Damn, is it possible that they think African Americans don’t buy computers; therefore, why not concentrate on the good ole boys who think like overseers on a plantation.

This ad goes beyond a bad decision made by some corporate big wigs. There’s every reason to believe Intel is promoting a political message with this ad. The company is leading a signature drive for a California ballot measure that would eliminate class action lawsuits over civil rights issues. Intel’s board of directors has been sent 25,000 faxes asking the company to abandon that pending ballot measure.

If passed the measure would end class action lawsuits that claim discrimination. The case against Denny’s that punished the restaurant chain for a pattern of discrimination against African Americans would never have been if for this measure. Victims of discrimination would have no means of vindication. One has to wonder why Intel is so engrossed in this issue.
Intel apologized for its advertising campaign and is withdrawing it. It would help if they would drop their support for the pending ballot measure. You can send them a loud shout out by going to this link: Join others by reminding them of who pays for that plush compensation package. It’s the people with the Intel Pentium chip inside their computer. Damn!

For more information on the issue, go to Jamie Court’s blog


  1. So, it all boils down to an all familiar question. Are their advertising execs stupid, insensitive, or increadibly clever in promoting a political/legislative campaign which might help the company? I could make a case for any of the three, but the first two are more probable.

    Incredibly well-scripted conspiracy actions usually work out best in the movies or on television. As actions of various world intelligence agencies will attest, in real life it's rarely James Bond or Jason Bourne precision, but more commonly Keystone Kops.

    How many of our personal friends could we trust with an important secret or to carry out an action that would only benefit us and not them? Not many, I would presume. Similarly, how many employees of the company you work for are so enamored of the company that they would harm others at the company's request instead of reporting the request publicly? That's why conspiracies of companies, agencies, and individuals have a high failure or embarassment rate. That fact doesn't preclude them from trying, however. But, even the highly motivated Al Qaeda has its snitches.

    You may be right and the Intel ad is part of a clever psychological campaign designed to get a piece of legislation passed. I think it's more likely that their ad agency was just incompetent in not realizing how their use of stereotypes (khaki geek male = computer savvy; black athletes = power and quickness) could be interpreted in other ways.

    I hope Intel pulls this ad quickly, followed by the exit of the ad exec who approved it.

  2. Yeah this sent a firestorm of commentary through the tech blog world.

    Intel posted an apology on their vp of marketing's blog, but I'm unable to Google-fu it at the moment.

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