February 5, 2012

Why car salesmen are able to rip off black guys

Law professor Ian Ayres did a study once showing that car salesmen tend to drive tougher bargains with black shoppers than with white shoppers. Malcolm Gladwell explained in Blink that this was only because the car salesmen didn't realize they were being prejudiced, and would stop as soon as they read Blink and realize they are leaving money on the table. Judge Posner and I disagreed, arguing that, in our experience, car salesmen were more cynical than Gladwell assumes. The good folks at Cars.com just spent $3.5 million to buy 30 seconds of Super Bowl air time to settle this long running argument by showing us what car salesmen see when they look at black shoppers.

52 comments:

Anonymous said...

I noticed that virtually every single commercial with more than two adults had a black person in it. I did not see a single Hispanic person in any commercial.

Anonymous said...

Off topic, but important: when using the donate button you get the error message "This recipient is currently unable to receive money."

Lugash said...

I am Lugash.

I noticed that virtually every single commercial with more than two adults had a black person in it...

Where have you been? Ads have been aggressively multicultural for the past decade. In the past five years or so they've increasingly featured white men as

a) Incompetent
b) Subordinate to women or blacks
c) Acting like complete goofs
d) Out of shape slobs
e) Some combination of a-d

This cars.com ad is one of the rare examples of a black man in a comic role. The Kia Optima commercial broke the trend as well. I guess the H&M Beckham commercial did as well.

I did not see a single Hispanic person in any commercial.

O/T

In the southwestern U.S. commercials are increasingly shot in English and Spanish version using the same actors, who are very light skinned Hispanics.

I am Lugash.

Lugash said...

I am Lugash.

The Superbowl ad blitz broke the trend a little bit more than usual.

Pepsi's Elton John commercial had a goofy white guy in the beginning, but it had Flavor Flav, who's a total goof.

Best Buy recognized a half dozen male inventors, almost all of whom were white.

GE's 'Power and Beer' exclusively featured productive white men.

Fiat 500 Aberth followed the trend.

America's Got Talent is a Prime example of the trend.

The Century 21 ad with Deion Sanders deviated from the trend a bit.

I am Lugash.

Anonymous said...

Funny ad though.

Anonymous said...

Is that Truth?

Maya said...

"Where have you been? Ads have been aggressively multicultural for the past decade. In the past five years or so they've increasingly featured white men as

a) Incompetent
b) Subordinate to women or blacks
c) Acting like complete goofs
d) Out of shape slobs
e) Some combination of a-d"

Yeah, everyone knows that that's the proper polite way of depicting white men, but no one's buying the message. Ask children (of any race and gender) to draw a doctor, a CEO, an inventor, an explorer, an astronaut or a hero. See what the overwhelming majority will draw.

Peter said...

A commercial for Progresso Soup that's been running incessantly on Food TV and the Cooking Channel shows how an ad that ostensibly satirizes women actually humiliates men.

A woman calls a chef at the Progresso kitchens, using a cans-and-string "telephone," and in a near-orgasmic voice squeals "they fit!" The male chef is distinctly unimpressed. Cut to the woman, who goes on to exclaim - perhaps less orgasmically, but still in a highly excited manner - that since she's been eating Progresso soup she's lost enough weight to fit into her old jeans. The chef is still unimpressed. Finally, in a voice that's definitely unexcited, the woman asks "Is there a woman I can talk to?"

At first glance this ad may seem as if it's poking fun at the woman. She sounds on the verge of, ahem, "feeling good" over fitting into old jeans. In reality, this ad is just another one of the vast numbers of commercials that humiliate men. The Progresso chef is such a clueless moron that he can't understand the woman's exhilaration, just like men in general.

Anonymous said...

white men are depicted as inept because that is truth

what contribution shave white men ever made to the world beseides rape and murder?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous:"I did not see a single Hispanic person in any commercial."

Well, since there are White Hispanics, who knows how many Hispanics you saw? Presumably, you mean that you saw no Amerind-looking Mestizos.

Syon

Anonymous said...

So Steve, you're saying that when car salesmen look at black shoppers they see parasitic alien worms coming out of their spinal columns?

(Jeez, that was creepy!!!)

Anonymous said...

@Lugash,

On using Hispanics in commercials in the Southwest,


I was at a Verizon outlet in a town in TX down near the border, I noticed that the posters of Paul Marcarelli, the "do you hear me now guy in all Verizon commercials, had been doctored. He had been darkened, and noticeably so.

Professor Woland said...

I am sure that cars.com wants to drive African Americans to their site knowing that they too will get a higher markup from internet sales the same way the dealerships get do now from walk in sales.

Lugash said...

I am Lugash.

re: Verizon

Interesting. I've always wondered how much the actor's race affects how well the ad resonates with the audience. I'd bet that the agencies have all researched this and have the results locked away somewhere.

I am Lugash.

Kylie said...

"Yeah, everyone knows that that's the proper polite way of depicting white men, but no one's buying the message."

White American women of a certain age and class have certainly bought it. The dismissive way in which they routinely refer to straight white men is insufferable. They talk about being strong, intelligent, independent women, never stopping to think that the technology and rule of law on which they are totally dependent have been provided to them by white men.

I have made it clear to my husband that under no circumstances is he to offer his help and assistance to any one of these women for any reason. (Luckily, they advertise their feelings in all sorts of easily decoded, non-verbal ways.) I can't stop them disrespecting men of his type (blue-collar, rough-hewn, taught to be helpful). But I can damn well stop them from benefitting from his considerable expertise and ability in keeping things running and fixing things when they quit running. He is, of course, free to help conservative, traditional women; in fact, I expect him to do so.

As for the rest, let the Kool-Aid drinkers drown in their own muck.

Truth said...

"Where have you been? Ads have been aggressively multicultural for the past decade. In the past five years or so they've increasingly featured white men as
a) Incompetent
b) Subordinate to women or blacks
c) Acting like complete goofs
d) Out of shape slobs
e) Some combination of a-d"

Oh stop it, that's not true; commercials DISTORT reality.

Truth said...

"I did not see a single Hispanic person in any commercial."

Well of course you didn't, because for you, to qualify, as 'Mess-kin' he has to look like the Cleveland Indians logo.

Truth said...

"I noticed that the posters of Paul Marcarelli, the "do you hear me now guy in all Verizon commercials, had been doctored. He had been darkened, and noticeably so."

But why? in my five years posting at this genius repository, I've always heard that Hispanics despised their dark skin.

Anonymous said...

Minorities in commercials are part of a legally prescribed standard of art. The conventions look as rigid as Socialist Realism once you become aware of them.

See here

The Screen Actors Guild has a contract for commercial actors. This contract has a non-discrimination/affirmative action section which reads:

"Consistent with the foregoing, best efforts shall be made to seek out and include women, minorities,
performers with disabilities and seniors in the casting of commercials thereby creating fair, equal and
nonstereotyped employment opportunities"

Anonymous said...

"I did not see a single Hispanic person in any commercial."

That's because the advertisers cast attractive Mediterranean looking actors instead, killing two birds with one stone since both whites and Hispanics can identify with their looks (mestizos prefer their Spanish side, not the Indio one)

Catperson said...

Well intelligence is the mental ability to adapt situations to your advantage, so the most obvious explanation for why white men get better deals than blacks and women is that they are more intelligent.

The fact that the ability to get good car deals is predicted by the race/sex IQ hierarchy suggests that IQ tests predict not only book smarts but street smarts too.

$3 million ads said...

Also: Detroit is the gleaming new ideopolis for the creative class

poolside said...

Whenever we see one of the many commercials in which intelligent black people help dim-witted white people make decisions about what to buy, my teen-aged kids always say, "White people are so stupid." And then we all laugh.

There are so many of these commercials now that it's impossible to list them all. If you pay attention, you will be overwhelmed -- and then depressed -- at the way whites are depicted.

Whiskey said...

Somewhat OT, the NAACP is demanding studios hire people of color as execs, producers, directors and so on.

Clearly, most of the profitable segment of consumers are White, and middle class. Marketers believe that women make 85% of all purchases, or influence it, so they focus on women. [I don't think this is true, but marketers believe it as dogma.]

THUS you get White guys portrayed as incompetent doofuses subordinate to "cool Black guys" and White women, because White women love that stuff. Who after all made Oprah a billionaire, by rewarding her as their spiritual mentor? It was not White guys.

To me this will only change when marketers start marketing direct to White guys, which means stop insulting them. There was a lot of online criticism according to the WSJ of a number of male-oriented ads: the Florist one with Adriana Lima, the Go Daddy ads, and stuff offensive to women gets pulled quick on the belief that offending them costs sales. Only when White guys start boycott campaigns and start pushing sales downwards will marketers stop this. Or in other words, you get more of what you reward and less of what you punish.

Anonymous said...

Have you noticed the scripts to some of these black-aimed ads are dumbed down for their target audience? The guy here says something like "I used their online comparison tool to compare gas mileages". The repetition of forms of "compare" is awkward and might not pass muster normally. (Also, that's all it took to make him feel like an expert - comparing gas mileages!). Similarly, in the commercial with the mulatto couple dining at a fancy restaurant, the guy says, "What am I, some kind of summoner who can summon footage to his phone?" Summoner, summon - ad writing that stands out for not being up to standard.

Maya said...

Kylie,

A lot of people might be drinking the anti white man koolaid in word and crude self expression, but very few buy the message in deed. The cattle (white men included, btw) like to piss on white men and sing praises to everyone else because they were sold on the idea that this is what a morally righteous person (superior others) would think and therefore say. They do so to signal their status and worldliness both to their peers and to themselves. However, when push comes to shove... In one of my indoctrination classes for master's in teaching, we read a study that showed that the overwhelming majority preferred white male doctors when presented with a choice. Furthermore, even though corporations show preference for entry level black and female lawyers, people of all races and genders who have the means to choose their own defense or divorce attorney overwhelmingly prefer white men. (In class, we decided that this is because people who run corporations are better educated and, overall, less ignorant than average individuals. Tee-hee.) Also, there was a study done (I think it's discussed in Freakonomics) on the number of white women who state no racial preference in their online dating profiles vs. the number of white women who only respond to white men's messages. Turns out that even though most white women claim to be open to dating the men of all races, in reality, most white women are only interested in white men. There's another study that showed that an average black man white women marry earns a significantly more than an average white husband of a white woman. So, an average white woman isn't impressed with non white men more than she is with the men of her own race. It seems that a non white man needs to compensate in order to stand a shot, on average. Deep down, everyone knows the score.

not a hacker said...

The Progresso chef is such a clueless moron that he can't understand the woman's exhilaration, just like men in general.

I'd like to go with your conclusion, but it seems strained. An analogous situation was in the Seinfeld "exclamation mark" episode. When Jake Jarmel couldn't understand Elaine's hysterical insistence on using exclamation marks, and walked out, did it make men look like they didn't get it, or was it a slap at unreasonable women? Likely the latter.

sid storch said...

Kylie for President.

Maya said...

poolside said...
"Whenever we see one of the many commercials in which intelligent black people help dim-witted white people make decisions about what to buy, my teen-aged kids always say, "White people are so stupid." And then we all laugh.

There are so many of these commercials now that it's impossible to list them all. If you pay attention, you will be overwhelmed -- and then depressed -- at the way whites are depicted."

Assuming you're a white man, why would YOU get depressed? Everyone else is being treated like they are small children or defective, not you. When I hear, "Who's a big boy? Who's a strong boy? Who's a smart boy? Yes, you are! Yes, you are!", I assume that the speaker is talking to a baby, not a young man who is actually big, strong and smart.

Here's a little story. For one of my education classes, I had to volunteer a few hours at an event for "special" children. I chose a semi formal dance where we helped getting the kids all dolled up and tried to make it a fun memorable evening for them. My "buddy" for the event was a 12 year old girl with Down's Syndrome. I put all the make up that she wanted on her, a lot of glitter all over her arms and hair, a plastic tiara and some sparkly dress. She was very happy with what she saw in the mirror. I told her she looked like a princess. She agreed and said that she is more beautiful than me because of my jeans and sweatshirt. I agreed. At the end of the event, my boyfriend came to pick me up. My buddy ran up to meet him. She asked, "Do I look pretty?" He said, "You are the prettiest girl I've ever seen." She said, "I'm prettier than Maya". He answered, "Well, of course you are. Maya doesn't even come close. You are prettier than a thousand Mayas." I promise you that I didn't feel depressed.

Those commercials where a strong, smart, wise woman has to deal with her immature, silly husband do upset me. They are HUMORING my gender. You know what types of people require being humored?

Peter said...

The Progresso chef is such a clueless moron that he can't understand the woman's exhilaration, just like men in general.

I'd like to go with your conclusion, but it seems strained. An analogous situation was in the Seinfeld "exclamation mark" episode. When Jake Jarmel couldn't understand Elaine's hysterical insistence on using exclamation marks, and walked out, did it make men look like they didn't get it, or was it a slap at unreasonable women? Likely the latter.

Look at the first few seconds of the commercial. A black woman squeals "It fits!" to a (Latin? Asian?) female chef, and the latter acts appropriately happy. The clear implication is that a woman is smart enough to share a caller's glee, but a man is too stupid to do the same.

riches said...

Anon provides valuable info with the SAG contract calling for "nonstereotyped casting".

But so what? That's only one half of the ccotract - and the weak half at that. The actors are, after all, the employees.

FredR said...

I think Maya's right. Political Correctness of the kind you see in these commercials is condescension in the original sense of the word.

From Daniel Webster's dictionary:

“Voluntary descent from rank, dignity, or just claims; relinquishment of strict right; submission to inferiors in granting requests or performing acts which strict justice does not require. Hence, courtesy.”

Kylie said...

"Those commercials where a strong, smart, wise woman has to deal with her immature, silly husband do upset me. They are HUMORING my gender. You know what types of people require being humored?"

Yes. Immature, silly women who are convinced they are strong, smart and wise.

But unless you fall into that category, why get upset about it?

Anonymous said...

I think you overestimate the impact of commercials on the culture. In our home the majority of the shows we watch are DVRd and when replayed the commercials are neatly skipped.

Truth said...

"White American women of a certain age and class have certainly bought it. The dismissive way in which they routinely refer to straight white men is insufferable. They talk about being strong, intelligent, independent women, never stopping to think that the technology and rule of law on which they are totally dependent have been provided to them by white men."

And they hate...Hate...HATE Betas; we got it, Whiskette.

Truth said...

"To me this will only change when marketers start marketing direct to White guys, which means stop insulting them. "

Hey, Dude, the Asian Blow-up-doll companies use YOU as a prototype. As a matter of fact, if I were you, I'd expect an all expensive paid trip to Shanghai to arrive in my mailbox sometime soon, just so they can spend some time with Whiskey and better discern what motivates their selected clientele.

Truth said...

"Maya said...
Kylie,

A lot of people might be drinking the anti white man koolaid in word and crude self expression, but very few buy the message in deed."

Hey, you two went from being moral enemies, to Road-Dawgs.

The internet really gives me that warm fuzzy feeling inside, sometimes.

Truth said...

" You are prettier than a thousand Mayas." I promise you that I didn't feel depressed."

Yeah, but what if she was 15?

Anonymous said...

The best car commercial targeted at the "urban" demographic is Eastern Motors in the DC area:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g6CslpftOe4

The lyrics to the jingle:

At Eastern Motors/Your job’s your credit!

At Eastern Motors/Your job’s your credit!

Fords, Hondas, Chevys, Beamers,/And minivans

Over 600 cars, trucks, SUVs/ Are you listenin’ man?

Let Eastern Motors/Put you in a car today!

Let Eastern Motors/Finance it all the way!

-----

It came out during the financial/housing bubble when credit was really loose. It featured prominent DC area pro athletes and went viral. The ad is somewhat infamous in the DC area. It was apparently a huge success and increased Eastern Motors' business by 400%

http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/articles/30023/jingle-all-the-way/

Anonymous said...

BTW, as you can probably tell from the commercial, Eastern Motors is like the Countrywide of car dealers.

The founder and CEO, who is a "gold-chainer" type, sounds like Angelo Mozilo:

http://www.fi-magazine.com/Article/Story/2011/09/Down-But-Not-Out.aspx

"After selling two more vehicles he purchased from a Salvation Army sale, Bassam was hooked. He set up shop in Arlington, Va., and spent the next six years building a wholesale operation. As his volume increased, he began expanding into larger lots, inadvertently attracting car shoppers.

“We just needed a place to store cars,” Bassam says, “but retail customers continued to roll in.” The would-be buyers he spoke with were looking for quality used cars, and many had been turned down by area dealerships.

For Bassam, the trend was too obvious to ignore. “We realized very quickly that the subprime market was underserved and mistreated,” he says."

Steve Sailer said...

Wow, that jingle is really catchy! I hate rap and it still makes me want to ruin my life for the sake of a blinged out SUV.

Speaking of the borders of Western Civilization, how Eastern is Easterns Motors?

Maya said...

"Yeah, but what if she was 15?"

Don't you mean 18? Anyway, he's not into blondes. Otherwise, I might have been biting my elbows in grief.

Kylie said...

"Wow, that jingle is really catchy!"

Yes, it resembles the opening bars of White Rabbit.

Kylie said...

"Kylie for President."

If nominated, I would not run. If elected, I would not serve.

Kylie said...

"Kylie,

A lot of people might be drinking the anti white man koolaid in word and crude self expression, but very few buy the message in deed...Deep down, everyone knows the score."


Is it that deep down, everyone knows the score or is this just another mental disconnect? Like saying blacks are the equal in every way of whites, then giving blacks all sorts of help that would be unnecessary were that true.

I think it's the latter, a disconnect that allows--even encourages--anti-white man self-expression while preferring the white man's expertise and know-how when it comes to actually getting things done.

in

Maya said...

"white men are depicted as inept because that is truth

what contribution have white men ever made to the world beseides rape and murder?"

Well, the greatest contribution I can think of, personally, is their ability to arouse, inspire and tantalize the senses. But then, I think, there's also some other stuff they did/do that I plan to read about someday. Something about meds or machines or whatever.

Maya said...

Kylie said:

"Yes. Immature, silly women who are convinced they are strong, smart and wise.

But unless you fall into that category, why get upset about it?"

Well, I'm not suicidal about it or anything. But... Obviously unfair promotion of women and others (most notably black people) upsets me because it makes any rational person doubt the validity of accomplishments that a member of any of the promoted groups might have achieved. In many (most) situations in life, we don't have enough time and resources to really get to know any given individual before we are forced to make a decision about his/her capabilities. I'm sure any person worthy of respect would acknowledge true value of anyone he got to interact with. But if getting to know the potential doctor, date, upper executive, officer, ect isn't possible before making a decision, that same person worthy of respect will consider all the risks involved and come to the best conclusion based on what is known. I happen to know more than several black professionals who are extremely intelligent and competent. Same experience with women. Yet, if I were to choose an expert from a list of names for any important issue in my life, i'd go with a white male name because I'd be scared that anyone else might have affirmative actioned his/her way in. It's sad that women and blacks can't use their degrees or professional titles to recommend them when they really do deserve the recognition because the special treatment given to their kind causes their achievements to be worth less.

Kylie said...

"Obviously unfair promotion of women and others (most notably black people) upsets me because it makes any rational person doubt the validity of accomplishments that a member of any of the promoted groups might have achieved."

Unfair advantage conferred by government fiat upsets me, too, but apparently not for the same reason it upsets you.

"It's sad that women and blacks can't use their degrees or professional titles to recommend them when they really do deserve the recognition because the special treatment given to their kind causes their achievements to be worth less."

Don't tell me, tell the Obamas.

Maya said...

Kylie said:
"Unfair advantage conferred by government fiat upsets me, too, but apparently not for the same reason it upsets you. "

Well, obviously, the main reason affirmative action is upsetting is that it disfranchises those who don't benefit from it. I thought you asked me why dumb commercials pandering to femenazis upset me, specifically, as a woman. There are, usually, many reasons why an evil thing is evil.

Tell what to Obamas? This crap existed long before them.

Kylie said...

"Well, obviously, the main reason affirmative action is upsetting is that it disfranchises those who don't benefit from it."

Actually, no, it wasn't obvious to me from your comment. You wrote "Obviously unfair promotion of women and others (most notably black people) upsets me because it makes any rational person doubt the validity of accomplishments that a member of any of the promoted groups might have achieved."

"Tell what to Obamas? This crap existed long before them."

Sure, but I've heard and read a lot more denigration of AA recipients generally since the Obamas got to the White House. They put a face on it, so to speak. And while this crap has existed for a long while, it didn't propel anyone into the office of POTUS until now.

Anonymous said...

" You are prettier than a thousand Mayas." I promise you that I didn't feel depressed."

Did he get that quote from a Space:1999 episode by any chance?

Anonymous said...

Back to the original topic: if black people have such great social smarts, who come they are ripped off so easily by car salesmen?