Look Who’s Talking To Our Kids: Representations of Race and Gender In TV Commercials On Nickelodeon

Adam Peruta, Jack Powers


There is a paucity of research examining the representations of race and gender in television commercials featured on popular children’s programs. The few studies that do exist tend to emphasize Saturday morning cartoon ads from decades ago. With that in mind, a systematic content analysis of commercials on the popular U.S. children’s cable network Nickelodeon was conducted. This study analyzed the frequency of gender, race, and appearance characteristics of lead presenters (i.e., central characters) in TV commercials featured as part of the weekday after-school programming on Nickelodeon. The analysis of 196 lead presenters suggests that females are underrepresented both as lead presenters and as voiceover actors relative to their real-life population numbers; Asians and Hispanics are grossly underrepresented relative to their real-life population numbers; African Americans are overrepresented; and Indigenous Peoples are absent.


television, kids, children, presenters, Nickelodeon, advertising, race, gender

Full Text: