Those Banned Utah State Fair Ads
I think that they are hilarious.
The Utah State Fair ends tomorrow, September 19, without the above and below advertisements being reinstated on local television. Nevertheless, they went viral on You Tube, and remain among some of the videos of the year.
This is from Kiss My Black Ads:
Fair board members say the 2010 television spots — which had earned a worldwide audience on YouTube — were too suggestive and reached the wrong “demographics.” On Friday afternoon, the commercials were pulled from the fair’s website.
“We took them down [from YouTube], just as we took the commercials off the air,” said Denise Allen, marketing and public relations director for the fair.
They left the ads on the radio, though. Well, the actor’s voice certainly sounds black, (unless he’s white and a great voice impersonator) so it stands to reason that people would expect the actor to be black in the ads.
The actor starring in the 2010 Utah State Fair ads is raising concerns about why the spots were pulled from television last week.
Markus T. Boddie says he doesn’t believe the decision was racially motivated, but he can’t say for sure.
“Hopefully that wasn’t the initial reaction,” Boddie told KSL Newsradio Monday. “I just think it was a misunderstanding of old ideas versus new ideas.”
He isn’t sure why the ads are still running on radio, though.
“That said to me, ‘Well, we don’t want to see you but we can hear you,’” Boddie said.
Utah State Fair Board members have said the ads just “weren’t right.” Some said they were offensive. They featured Boddie serenading a pig and a funnel cake, both staples of the state fair.
Boddie says he was channeling his inner “Barry White.”
“The spirit that we were trying to go for was the old ‘70s singers,” Boddie said. “They were ultrasmooth, ultracool and they could say anything and make it sound good.”
Boddie says the decision reinforces stereotypes about Utah, and people need to know that times have changed.
“There are black people here in Utah that aren’t related to Gladys Knight,” Boddie said. “If we embrace that, then I think that’s the image of Utah we want to take forward.”
Gladys Knight, for those who don’t know, is a Mormon, a Latter Day Saint, and has been since 1997.
I think brother Boddie still wants to be considered for ads in the state, so he’s not saying he’s sure it’s racism. But I think that it is.
The Deseret News reported on September 14 that Jared Hess is none too happy over the ad pulling and sees racism in the decision.
The controversial ads, written by Hess’ younger brother, a student at BYU-Idaho, were pulled from television airwaves at the last minute by the Utah State Fair Board after some members expressed concern over their content. But radio ads featuring the identical dialogue were allowed to run.
Critics argue the TV spots were too risqué, laden with sexual undertones. Hess, however, was not convinced that was the only factor.
“I found it a little bit unsettling that they would pull the TV spots but leave the radio ads, which have the exact same content and lyrics,” Hess said. “The things that make the TV spots different is you see who’s singing the spots.”
Hess said he thought the decision “was a strange statement” that the State Fair Board was making. He believes there might have been a racial motivation behind the decision to pull the spots.
State Fair board chairman Lorin Moench countered in another article saying the $22,000 advertisements didn’t accurately portray the State Fair to the kinds of people that he and the board were trying to attract.
“We felt that the ads didn’t meet the demographics that we felt need to happen. We are trying to get families to come to the fair and to represent the agriculture interests of the state,” said Moench.
Man, I can read the codewords a mile away. So black families aren’t interested in the soil and in farming? In crops and animals, in quilts, and in cakes, and in jams? With all the racket that is going on about Shirley Sherrod and black farmers not being recompensed by the government? Honestly, I think the filmmaker was poking fun at traditionally pale, colorless Utah. And I really don’t think, unless some people can’t see a joke, that a caravan of late, late model Cadillacs and Lincoln Continentals full of black people looking like this cat were going to show up and take the emphasis away from the proceedings.
I think the fair coordinators can’t take a joke. Or they were pressured by people who can’t take a joke and feel threatened.
The ads were replaced by a rather innocuous–and boring–one involving a little girl and a cow.