Advertising practices need to be overhauled

Advertising practices need to be overhauled

Photo : Paras Ramoutar

There is an urgent and aggressive need for advertising in the corporate, business and public service to reflect the multicultural and ethnic diversity of our society.

Daily we witness a continuous rampage of ads on radio, television and newspapers portraying one ethnic group in multi ethnic Trinidad and Tobago, and yet, there is talk that Trinidad and Tobago is a balanced society, reflecting the fullness of the nation state.

The 1970 Black Power upsurge led by the then leader Geddes Granger (Makandal Daaga)  demanded Black consciousness in government, banking, business and other commercial activities. Dr Eric Williams, then Prime Minister, in an address to the nation, said that all advertising, government and otherwise, must reflect blackness, instead of a French Creole models. That did not go too well with the then white business elites.

East Indian diaspora model was never on the radar of Dr Williams. The task Indo-Trinis is to correct this deliberate anomaly and bring advertising to reflect the ethnic composition of the society.

I think it is virtually incumbent on the advertising agencies and their clients to re-evaluate   this blatant stance of ignoring 44 per cent of the population. It is time to stop this unfair practice which continues to give the false notion that only one ethnic group resides here.

The East Indian diaspora must demand that our model be placed in ads, not only to give balance to the national make-up, but to ensure that, ‘every creed and race finds an equal place’.

The people of this country must stop thinking or believing that the 44 per cent of Trinidad and Tobago  do not exist, or are only  people who vote for the United National Congress, or to be pampered by the People’s National Movement for votes at election time.

The Indian diaspora deserves much more than tokenism on all counts of human behavior. Let us start in 2018 so that there would be real national solidarity among the various religious and ethnic groups in our country.

Paras Ramoutar holds Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Accreditation in international Public Relations and Business Communication. He is a recipient of several national and international awards, including the Humming Bird Medal, Rotary’s Paul Harris Fellow Pin, Rotary Fellowship Award and Peace Award, Justice of the Peace for TT, and has been an international journalist writing for national and international media.