Not only must the advertisement effectively communicate the desired message, but the individual audience must be willing to “buy into” the desired message. In other words, for the advertisement to be effective, the communication must be sent and received. Advertising is a two-way communication process. Jeannette Dates and William Barlow state Ever since the beginning of advertising, three rules have prevailed: “to advertise to people ready, willing and able to buy; to use the media which reach them; and to make advertisements that would win their business.”
In practice, advertisers rarely worked at reaching African American consumers. In contrast, there were two important reasons why black American consumers wished to be targeted by advertisers: (1) they wanted to be courted for their money as others were, and (2) they responded to the respect implicit in the courting process, when the advertisement was neither patronizing nor condescending (Dates & Barlow 1993: 463).
As consumers African Americans want the advertising industry to appropriate their citizenship in “market democracy, in which every dollar was supposedly equal to the other regardless of the hand that held it,” by positively and accurately representing blacks in the role of, writes Jason Chambers, “consumers and equal citizens. As one black advertising specialist observed, “Advertising plays an important role in demonstrating upward social mobility and is a yardstick in charting progress in the search for acceptance and recognition by the majority society” (Chambers 2008: 5, 15).