Semester of Graduation



Master of Mass Communication (MMC)


Manship School of Mass Communication

Document Type



Colorism is a worldwide ideology based on the discrimination of individuals with darker skin tones. This ideology is highly prevalent in the Black community with constant reinforcement from the media, family, and community interactions. Almost every aspect of the media can be studied with colorism in mind, such as film, journalism, and advertising. This study uses social cognitive theory to look at colorism in advertising by examining how Black consumers assess advertisements in relation to a model’s skin tone (e.g., light and dark). The overall findings show that Black consumers show no preference when it comes to the model’s skin tone, which shows that Black people respond favorably to other Black people in the media no matter the hue of their skin. Black consumers, however, did prefer to see a Black model, regardless of skin tone, over an advertisement without a model. These findings imply that when advertising to Black consumers, companies should use Black models to effectively reach Black audiences.

Committee Chair

Stamps, David



Available for download on Sunday, March 12, 2028