Felicia the Goat : use of racialized characters in advertisements
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] For decades, advertisers have attempted to reach black audiences with ads wrought with racialized characters. The research outlined in this document built on existing scholarship concerning cultural hegemony, appropriation, and the racialization of identity, applying the concepts to the study of advertising. Through critical discourse analysis of the online discourse in response to Mountain Dew and Tyler, the Creator's controversial "Felicia the Goat" campaign, this study aimed to gather insights on how online audiences discuss and react to advertisers' racialized representations of people of color. This analysis found that audience reactions to the racialized characters were related to whether audience members perceived racism to be individual acts or structural phenomena. Commenters who understood racism individualistically were more likely to defend the ads, while commenters who understood racism structurally were more likely to critique the ads.