HAT to compile ads featuring non-white people for research

The portrayal of ethnic minorities in ads over the past 130 years

is to be the subject of a major research programme by the industry's


The initiative is one of the most ambitious ever attempted by the

History of Advertising Trust, which celebrates its 25th birthday this


Advertisers and agencies are being encouraged to release all the

material they hold on ads featuring non-white people - even though much

of it would be considered offensive and potentially controversial by

today's standards.

The ads, together with those already collected by the HAT, the world's

largest advertising archive, will be available for study by sociologists

as well as today's agency executives and their clients.

"Nobody has done anything like this before and we think it will be of

considerable interest," Michael Cudlipp, the HAT chief executive,


Cudlipp acknowledged that a lot of the material would not be

"politically correct" but he was hopeful the passage of time would mean

agencies and advertisers were comfortable about releasing it.

"We're not seeking to pass judgment on what people have done in the

past," he added. "We hope we'll get lots of help because this is social



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