"Harmonic Convergence: Racial Tolerance is Suddenly Hot in Advertising"
              Copyright 1993 The Times Mirror Company
Los Angeles Times

                    January 19, 1993, Tuesday, Home Edition

SECTION: Business; Part D; Page 1; Column 3; Financial Desk

LENGTH: 1163 words




    Bill Clinton didn't start it. But there are undeniable
signs -- as the President-elect prepares to take the oath of
office Wednesday -- that some of America's biggest marketers
are now embracing the same racial-harmony themes that Clinton
wove into his campaign speeches and stitched into the fabric of
his transition team and Cabinet appointments.

   At one time, only apparel companies on the marketing edge,
such as Benetton,  Esprit and Members Only -- and, more
recently, Nike -- dared to tout race as an  issue in ads. But
this week, even Clearasil, the acne medication made by
merchandising giant Procter & Gamble Co., is about to tackle
the topic in TV ads to appear on the classroom network Channel

   Over the weekend, Mastercard co-sponsored a teen summit in
New York City that focused on racism. And McDonald's ran
national TV spots promoting Monday's Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
holiday. Timberland Shoes, an East Coast boot maker, is also
taking on the issue of combatting racism while trying to
recruit other marketers to join its battle. And last week, TDI,
which sells ad space on buses  from Los Angeles to New York
City, unveiled in Los Angeles a nationwide public service
campaign on improved race relations.

   All of this comes at a time when racial issues continue to
be front-and-center in the news. In just a few weeks, the four
Los Angeles policemen accused of beating Rodney King are
scheduled to be tried on charges of violating his civil rights.
In the Crown Heights area of Brooklyn, antagonism continues
between blacks and Hasidic Jews. Over the weekend, Jesse
Jackson continued his attack on racism in professional sports -
- and threatened a baseball boycott. And in Germany, anti-
racist groups have taken to the streets in protest of attacks
by right-wing skinheads on ethnic minorities.

   Earlier this month, even the chairman of Mercedes-Benz in
Germany wrote an "open letter" that ran as an advertisement,
harshly criticizing racial intolerance.

   Can advertising quell any of this anger? Probably not. But
the public relations around it can attract wide attention. By
bringing the issue of race to the forefront, many marketers
hope that they can attract new attention.

   The recent spurt of ads in support of racial harmony
represents "a growing recognition of minorities -- and of the
increasing power they have in this country," said Roberta
Clarke, a professor of marketing at Boston University.

   "Sure, you can be cynical and say that marketers are only
doing this to make  money," Clarke said. "But if we can get
companies to even act as if they respect these ideals, that may
be the most we can expect from them. One thing is for sure:
Marketers can't sweep minorities under the rug anymore."

   Racial harmony will be the advertising cause for 1993 --
particularly for firms trying to tap into the teen-age market,
said Marian Salzman, president of  the New York research firm
BKG Youth Inc. "The only environmental issues that sell will be
urban environmental issues," she said.

   A recent survey of teen-agers conducted by BKG for Eastman
Kodak Co. revealed that more than a third of those responding
said they had been victims of racial  discrimination. Only 15%
of the teen-agers surveyed said they would "never" date a
person of another race. For big marketers, this clearly signals
that racial harmony sells.

   But some corporate image experts say racial harmony is a
marketing fad -- and only firms such as Benetton are expected
to remain committed to it after other social issues come into

   "There's quite a difference between developing a whole
corporate culture on the issue and, say, Clearasil running an
ad about racial harmony," said Joel Portugal, co-founder of the
New York corporate identity firm Anspach Grossman Portugal.

   Indeed, executives at Procter & Gamble concede that they
became interested in the topic of racial harmony only after it
became clear to them -- from in-house  surveys -- how important
the issue is to teen-agers. "If it's important to teens, then
it's important to Clearasil," said Jim Schwartz, a Procter &
Gamble  spokesman.

   Beginning this week, actress Demi Moore will be featured in
a Clearasil-sponsored public service spot against racism that
will initially air on Channel One but could eventually land on
network television. Noxzema skin cream is also expected to
eventually speak to the issue.

   Two weeks ago, Timberland Co. of Hampton, N. H., began
running a print ad campaign with a large headline asking
consumers to "Give Racism the Boot." The ad is running not only
in the United States, but in England, France, Switzerland and
Germany -- where Timberland does a big business.   Jeffery
Swartz, chief operating officer of Timberland, said he was
struck with the idea for the campaign shortly after hearing a
story from one of Timberland's senior executives in Germany.
The executive, who is black, told Swartz that his 6-year-old
son came home from school and asked his father why other
children were using racial slurs against him.

   Swartz said Timberland "wanted to be on record" with its
strong opposition to racism. The ad is the first of five print
ads that will appear over the next year. One ad will show a
boot under this headline: "This boot performs best when
marching against hatred."

   "This is not about selling boots," Swartz said. "It's about
making a strong statement."

   One of the strongest anti-racism statements of all was
unveiled last week in  Los Angeles by TDI, the country's
largest transit ad firm. TDI is donating $2.5  million in ad
space for racial-harmony messages that will run across bus
sides nationwide -- including more than 400 in Los Angeles.

   The ads, which feature photos of people from various racial
backgrounds, include this slogan: "We live in paradise. Don't

    "It's not going to stop a gang member or a graffiti artist
from doing whatever they want to do," said Bill Apfelbaum,
president and chief executive of TDI, "but it can certainly
raise the consciousness of some people."   Briefly . . .

   The Los Angeles office of Lord, Dentsu & Partners has been
handed the $15-million North American ad account for Phoenix-
based Best Western International. . . . Inter/Media Advertising
of Encino has won the estimated $5-million direct-response
media-buying account for Ross Perot's "United We Stand America"
membership drive. . . . Suissa Miller Advertising of Santa
Monica has picked up the estimated $2-million China Airlines
account formerly handled by DDB/Needham of Los Angeles. . . .
AdLand, the San Francisco agency that specializes in marketing
to Asian Americans, has been hired by Motorola Corp. to help
market to Asian Americans nationwide. . . . Cliff Einstein,
president and creative director of the Los Angeles agency
Dailey & Associates has been named "1992 Leader of the Year" by
the Western States Advertising Agencies Assn. and will be
honored at a black-tie dinner Feb. 24 at the Regency Beverly
Wilshire Hotel.

GRAPHIC: Photo, COLOR, Jeffery Swartz, chief operating officer
of Timberland Co. of Hampton, N. H., with ads from racial
harmony campaign.