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Racism and Classism in Mexican Advertising

A Book Chapter by Carl Jones, published by Springer

This paper explores how Mexico’s population has been faced with the polemics of class and race. This division continues today through the Mexican ruling class’s appropriation of advertising. I am interested in the functions and systems in place that allow this to propagate and how meaning is being reproduced unperceived by the audience. My thesis question asks, What are the visual representations of the power relationships in Mexico’s political economy as reflected through the appropriation of advertising? To answer this question, I perform a semiotic analysis of branded advertising messages created by the companies Bimbo, Palacio de Hierro and FEMSA, owned by the Mexican ruling families Servitje, Baillares and Garza respectively. Each television commercial is examined for signs, cultural codes, gestures, gaze and word tracks. These signs are decoded, and the conclusion is expressed through “An Exhibition of Visual Messaging”, designed to inform the Mexican public of how messages are constructed and received, empowering the viewer to interpret and challenge the meaning behind the communications they are receiving through the metamedia.


Jones C.W. (2019) Racism and Classism in Mexican Advertising. In: Olteanu A., Stables A., Borţun D. (eds) Meanings & Co.. Numanities – Arts and Humanities in Progress, vol 6. Springer

Photo by Denisse Leon on Unsplash

Carl Jones


Carl W. Jones is a Senior Lecturer in PR & Advertising at the University of Westminster, and is recognized globally as an authority on advertising, being invited to 12 countries to give seminars: Clio’s Asia, Marketing Magazine Toronto, El Ojo Buenos Aires, and recently at Syracuse University USA, & El Colegio de Mexico in Mexico City. In total he has won over 500 awards and recognitions for his creative work including Cannes Lions. The mass media such as BBC; The Telegraph; BBC Mundo: Periodico Reforma, interview Jones on publicity and its effects on society. His newspaper articles on Racism & Classism in Mexican advertising have had over 7,000 shares on Facebook alone. Carl is also a founding member of the research group @LASAWw Latin American Studies At Westminster, and issue editor for the WPCC media journal on Advertising for the Human Good.


11 July 2018
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