Approachable or appropriative? Black Americans' perceptions of codeswitched advertisements using African American Vernacular English
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The present qualitative study investigated the phenomenon of using cultural dialect African American Vernacular English (AAVE) in codeswitched advertising by gathering Black American perceptions related to this semiotic strategy and its effectiveness. Black Americans who were active social media users and under the age of 30 participated in focus groups where they viewed multiple codeswitched advertisements and provided their opinions. While a comparison advertisement proved that general slang use was not completely taboo, participants generally disapproved of the use of AAVE in advertisements and saw the practice to be inauthentic, appropriative, and cringey. Having non-Black spokespeople use AAVE in ads elicited similar negative reactions, while ads using AAVE with spokespeople of color were viewed more positively. Furthermore, the use of AAVE on traditional mediums was an unsuccessful strategy that seemed out of place, with digital platforms being a more logical choice. Given the lack of previous research on AAVE codeswitched advertisements, more research is needed to further examine perceptions and better understand this strategy and its effectiveness.