Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Uncle Ben and Marketing Racism - Pimping Uncle Ben

AAO says: Yeah, they are making him the fake Chairman, but show me the money! This appears to be nothing more than a PR Scam, yes Mars, marketing 101.

What's up? Are black folks not buying "Uncle Ben's products like they use too?

Are the family members of the original “Uncle Ben" receiving his (long past due) Chairman's salary and royalties? Yeah we said it, money - $$$. If they (descendents) are not available, are nonprofit HBCU's, or inner city boys and girls clubs getting any $$$.

This is pure bogus to us. A fake Chairman of the Board. Soon they will be placing Kentucky Fried Chicken, Col. Sanders in Black Face"

Read more about the new Uncle Ben in the New York Times article titled:

Uncle Bean, Board Chairman

A racially charged advertising character, who for decades has been relegated to a minor role in the marketing of the products that still carry his name, is taking center stage in a campaign that gives him a makeover — Madison Avenue style — by promoting him to chairman of the company.

Newspaper ad and image of Uncle Ben in his office, Masterfoods USA

A Web site for Uncle Ben’s,, offers a look at his executive office.

The character is Uncle Ben, the symbol for more than 60 years of the Uncle Ben’s line of rices and side dishes now sold by the food giant Mars. The challenges confronting Mars in reviving a character as racially fraught as Uncle Ben were evidenced in the reactions of experts to a redesigned Web site (, which went live this week. Read More>

1 comment:

Brian said...

Thanks AAPP,

This might be one of those cases where folks are being mildly racists without realizing that they are.

It's more important for us to have real access to the board room, not just access via a symbol...and a bad symbol at that.

They used this gimmick as if Uncle Ben was ever a symbol of someone "in charge" or powerful. Uncle Ben was (and is) a symbol of subservience TO the powerful....not a symbol OF power.

Or as you hinted.... it could be a marketing ploy to target urban consumers.

Either way... it was not a very good idea as a marketing strategy.

In fact... i'm tired of all of these images and symbols that display Black subservience and Class designation. Isn't it time for these images to die?

I don't know if these images are as damaging as they used to be, because the younger generations today really don't understand the historical context associated with these images and symbols... (most) Young Blacks inherently understand that there is much more that they have access to in terms of opportunities....So these images don't serve as the mental shackles that they used to be. But the images should still be retired IMO.

Did these people really think this ploy would make more folks rush to the grocery store to buy their product?