Exploring collective memories associated with African-American advertising memorabilia: The good, the bad, and the ugly

Carol M. Motley, Geraldine R. Henderson, Stacey Menzel Baker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

25 Scopus citations


We examine consumers' memories of and meanings associated with stereotypical depictions of African Americans in advertisements and other marketing memorabilia. Although research has discussed the evolution of depictions of African Americans in advertisements over time, there is little academic literature addressing the meanings associated with these images. Our analysis suggests that collecting black memorabilia demonstrates a means of both self and collective recollection, with the meanings of the images/objects differing by individual and social group. These meanings are understood by exploring two secondary themes: the good, the bad, and the ugly but important and black marketing memorabilia as symbols and preservers of the past. Evident in this discussion is that people remember the past in the context of tangible evidence (e.g., promotional items, packaging). People remember the past the way they want and need to remember it, and even images perceived as bad or ugly are important in reconciling with and learning from the past.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-57
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Advertising
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2003
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business and International Management
  • Communication
  • Marketing

Cite this