Ever since mass advertising was first invented, the obvious way to sell stuff to men has been to use images or footage of attractive women in advertisements. Preferably women wearing the sort of clothing that makes their appurtenances visible.
It’s the same principle used by that Russian TV station that features naked young women reading the news — a guaranteed way to make the average male viewer well-informed on current affairs in Russia.
Back in the 1950s, during the heyday of mass advertising psychology (see the The Hidden Persuaders by Vance Packard for a period piece from the time), researchers discovered that the converse was not true — you couldn’t sell stuff to women by using handsome men in your advertising. Paradoxically, the way to sell stuff to women was to use the same strategy used on men: put sexy women in the ads. I don’t know if anyone ever figured out why this works, but it does.
I bring all this up because it seems a similar process is at work in Pakistan, except this time the marketing strategy involves race, and not sex.
The subset of the Powers That Be that controls the backbone of the Internet has managed to throttle most of the spam traffic in the last year or two. For some reason, most of the remaining email spam that gets through the filters — and especially the bandwidth-hogging emails with large images — originates in Pakistan. Fortunately for us, our spam filter manages to catch most of these messages so that our inbox remains uncluttered with trash. However, sometimes I amuse myself by opening the spam folder and browsing through the Pakistani spam.
I’ve noticed that in many instances Pakistani spammers use images of people who are distinctly not ethnic Pakistanis to sell stuff to people in Pakistan. The most blatant of such ads, which showed up in the spam filter this morning, contained this image:
The accompanying ad (in English, the common tongue of the Indian subcontinent) was trying to sell school management software. It was plainly targeting potential customers inside Pakistan, and not abroad — it listed an address in Karachi, a phone number in Pakistan, and an email address with a .pk domain. Yet they used cute little honky kids to pitch the product to their perceived customer base.
Pakistan is not the only “brown” country to use images of white people in domestic advertising. Whiteness is a big seller for Indians, too — and skin-whitening products are a major industry in India. For some reason white people are considered attractive and optimal to people in India. I suppose you could blame it on their history of oppression by the British, a legacy of colonialism. But the British have been gone for more than seventy years, and are widely disliked in India. So why is whiteness an ideal?
And non-whites in other parts of the world exhibit similar preferences, as expressed in advertising and popular culture. Given the well-known public hatred of whitey, why does this happen?
I don’t know the answer to these questions, and the topic is so hobbled by political correctness that reasonable, unbiased research into its causes is all but impossible. But the phenomenon is clearly visible: while Western universities are busy deconstructing whiteness and reviling “white privilege”, the Third World is voting for whiteness with its pop culture.