“Is your skin color holding you back?”
Never have my ears perked and head raised so quickly to pay attention to my T.V. screen as when I heard those words, and that of the commercial that followed.
“White Squad is a team of carefully selected white representatives who act on behalf of people of color. We’re your stand-ins for life’s racially unbalanced situations.”
At first I couldn’t decide if this was a real commercial or some kind of skit from a crew similar to CollegeHumor.com or Friends of the People. The idea of hiring a “white representative” to hail a cab, get a better apartment, or stand in for you at court, couldn’t be possible, right? That couldn’t be a real thing. But, the more the commercial goes on, the more believable it gets. The acting is mediocre and sarcastic, but never over the top. The production is top notch. The logo is professionally designed and the format is well thought out.
Needless to say, my eyes and ears stayed glued to the picture box hanging on the wall until the end of the spot, still waiting for the punchline reveal. When I didn’t get that, I immediately turned to my phone to follow the CTA to the White Squad website. Much to my disappointment, the site was down, which I can only assume was a result of a mass influx of curious viewers such as myself – or maybe my internet just wasn’t cooperating.
After finally connecting to the WhiteSquad website (on my laptop,) the professionally produced facade continued with a smooth and fully built out experience including a ‘Services,’ ‘How it Works,’ ‘Our Team’ and ‘FAQ’ page. After browsing around the site, the secret is finally revealed when you try to actually request a service. An animation ensues, taking over the screen and revealing “White privilege is real. White Squad is fiction.”
Brought to you as part of MTV’s Look Different campaign, White Squad is an (effective) effort to bring more awareness to prejudice in our day-to-day lives. This ad in particular is a satirical stab at white privilege, and whether you agree or disagree with the campaign and the commercial’s approach, this ad is sure to get people to pay attention at least until the end of the spot. As can be expected, Mashable points out in their review that responses to the ad via social media have varied widely.
What do you think about the new White Squad campaign from MTV? Let me know in the comment below or on Twitter – @HOOKDin. Also, be sure to subscribe to get the next Ad Spotlight delivered right to your inbox.