The Power Of AAPI Audiences + Accurate Representation In Advertising

We all know February is Black History Month and March is Women’s History Month, but as we inch closer to summer, May is set aside for another notable group worth noting – not only for their massive market share, but also for their evolution in advertising from stereotype to cultural champion.  


Being a relatively well-assimilated group with a big purchasing power of $1.3 trillion that has grown 314% over the past two decades, Asian American & Pacific Islanders have become an attractive marketing target. 


However, their ethnic image has been confined to stereotypical assumptions in advertising history. Over 50% of Asian Americans appreciate brand inclusivity and purchase from brands that reflect and respect their ethnicity and culture. Showing that stereotyping in advertising affects consumers’ attitudes towards the minority group and the advertised product. 

Brands and advertising agencies have an opportunity to showcase their support for the AAPI community, along with the responsibility to portray AAPI individuals more accurately. In honor of Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we’ve gathered three examples of campaigns that did a great job doing that.

The “model minority” stereotype emerged in the 1960s. It pigeonholes the AAPI community as an overachieving “favored” group, generally superior to other minorities living in the U.S., and disregards everyone’s cultural identity, serving as a wedge to divide communities and disrupt broader understanding. Wieden + Kennedy’s film “The Myth” discusses the effects of this stereotype experienced by a young Asian American woman.

Droga5 Campaign for Asian American

To raise funds and awareness for the Asian American Federation’s critical safety programs in AAPI communities, Droga5 flipped the script on a xenophobic question many people of color—especially Asian Americans—dread: “Where are you really from?” In partnership with Asian & Asian American illustrators, the agency created vibrant travel posters of US cities that stood for belonging—visually asserting where Asian Americans call home.

For many AAPIs, their given names carry an even deeper history and significance. But, acts of bias, indifference, and misidentification can lead to creating barriers within communities and make Asian Americans feel outcasted. P&G’s film, “The Name,” chronicles the life of a Korean American girl named Yeong Joo as she grapples with the outside world. As the story unfolds, we eventually discover, through everyday acts of kindness and self-strength, that even the smallest efforts, like learning someone’s name, can help a person feel like they truly belong.

Showcasing AAPI representation in media and advertising year-round, and not just during the month of May, attracts attention. It’s been effective in non-advertising sectors as well, including: 

  • The blockbuster film “Everything Everywhere All At Once” turned stereotypes on their head. 
  • The TV series “Beef”, represented complex Korean characters in the mainstream in an unprecedented way.
  • The unveiling of TJ, Sesame Street’s first-ever Filipino American Muppet. This character had a big impact for kids in need of confidence to use a second language. 


By engaging with the Asian American Pacific Islander demographic through culturally resonant advertising, brands can tap into new markets and drive brand loyalty. Diversity isn’t just a moral imperative; it’s a strategic advantage. By authentically portraying AAPI experiences and empowering underrepresented voices, advertising holds the power to shape narratives, foster connection, and drive positive social change

The King Agency is an award-winning marketing agency offering a full suite of communications services including advertising, branding, digital, and strategic marketing, at any scale. Based in Richmond, Virginia, with offices in Atlanta and Virginia Beach, The King Agency has been helping turn businesses into award-winning brands for more than 25 years. To learn more visit thekingagency.com or email hello@thekingagency.com