Moss Kendrix

Introduction

The Life and Legacy of Moss Kendrix

The Coca-Cola Years

The Coca-Cola Proposal

The National Association of Market Developers

SPECIAL REPORT: The Changing Face of the Urban Markets

The African-American Image Abroad: Golly, It's Good!

The African-American Image in Advertising

The Advertiser's Holy Trinity: Aunt Jemima, Rastus, and Uncle Ben

A Distorted Reflection: African-Americans and Beauty Products

The Times They Are A-Changing 1960 - 1990

The Advertising Future for African-Americans

What the Public Thinks, Counts

The Alexandria Black History Museum

The Museum of Public Relations home page

 

© The Museum of Public Relations. All Rights Reserved. 
For information about
the Museum, please email us
at info@prmuseum.org

 

The African-American Image Abroad: Golly, It's Good!

The African American visage in overseas advertisements maintains similarities to trends in the United States. Early uses of African Americans in advertisements tended to place them in servile or comical roles. While most contemporary overseas advertising follows accepted norms, a most disturbing trend is the continued use of negative images of African American males.

In Japan, "Darkie" toothpaste with its image of a wide eyed, big lipped African-American male on the box was sold as late as the 1980's. Finally complaints by Westerners resulted in a name change and the packaging being altered to reflect a contemporary African American male.

Overseas, Licorice still appears to be a product that engenders the use of racial stereotypes. Two products currently on the market, "Halva Lakritsia" from Finland and "Tabu" in Italy, both use a caricature of an African American male on their packaging. The Italian product even bases its advertising campaign on the conceit of embracing the taboo. The packaging implies that the buyer must be a daring and cutting edge consumer to even purchase a product that makes fun of a minority group.

Still the most enduring African-American image to appear in European advertising has been the Gollywog. Gollies (Golliwogg or gollys) first appear in England in the 1890's due to thc popularity of a character in Florence K. Upton's story The Adventure of Two Dutch Dolls. In the story, the Gollies are depicted as primarily male figures with a black face, wild wooly hair, wide white eyes, and large red lips. Later the Gollywog would become the trademark for the jam produced by James Robertson & Sons Preserve Company. The Golly ("wog" has been dropped from usage as it is a racial insult to those of African and Indian descent), wearing a blue topcoat with tails and bright red pants, with the slogan "Golly its good!" was used by the company through the 1980s. A whole line of golly premiums (promotional bonuses) were offered to consumers. Golly aprons, T-shirts, pins, trays, mugs cups, dolls and toast racks can be found in many European homes. In time, pressure by minority groups forced Robertson to phase out the use of the Golly. Still, the Golly remains an enduring symbol, with golly societies still active in the United States and abroad.