Today diversity is the default, not the exception. “Minorities” are already the majority in some of the biggest cities in the United States, and demographers predict that the same will be true of the country as a whole before 2050.

Many now favour cross-cultural ads that emphasise what black, Spanish-speaking and Asian-American consumers have in common, which is an effective approach especially for the young. Ogilvy & Mather, a large ad agency, formed OgilvyCulture in 2010 as a unit specialising in cross-cultural marketing. They help brands communicate differences in such a way that they are not seen as borders, but rather bridges that allow people to cross-connect with one another.

Saul Gitlin of Kang & Lee, an agency focused on linking corporate America to the Asian-American marketplace, argues that recent Chinese and Korean immigrants are best reached with communications in their mother tongue. They are generally ignored by advertisers, which is a mistake, since he estimates that the median household income of Asian-Americans is some $10,000 higher than that of non-Hispanic whites.

David Burgos, co-author of Marketing to the New Majority: Strategies for an Integrated World, says that even if minority consumers are the new mainstream, advertisers still put ethnic ads into a separate budget-which tends to be cut first when the economy is bad. Only 7% of marketing dollars are spent on targeted ethnic campaigns; therefore, he thinks ad agencies need a more diverse staff.