Who Is Marketised in Colour-Blind Sweden? Racial and Ethnic Representation in Swedish Commercials 2008–2017

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


From a social equality representation perspective, advertising should ideally mirror themulticultural composition at the national market, because mass-mediated identity representationsmay act as cultural resources for those with marginalised identities. To investigate the observanceto such an ideal in a context where the ethnic and racial composition of the population saw a rapidchange, this article examines 676 Swedish TV commercials in over the period 2008–2017, and analysesthe representation of non-White persons of colour (POC). Through this quantitative and qualitativeexamination, we find that POC are indeed visible in the commercials, but predominantly in thebackground or playing minor roles. With the, at times, unproportionally high representation ofracial and ethnic diversity in Swedish advertising, we find significant tokenism, or in other words,the structurally ineffectual approach common in market-based multiculturalism.


External organisations
  • Malmö University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Business Administration


  • advertising, persons of colour, representation, Sweden, tokenism
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages20
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Oct 10
Publication categoryResearch