There Were Different ‘Straight Outta Compton’ Trailers for Different Races

"Straight Outta Compton" New York Screening
Ice Cube (left) and O'Shea Jackson Jr. attend the 'Straight Outta Compton' New York screening in New York City.
Photograph by Johnny Nunez — Getty Images

In promoting the movie Straight Outta Compton, the biopic released last year telling the story of seminal gangsta rap group NWA, Universal pictures reportedly made different trailers for different audiences—specifically, trailers were designed to appeal to particular racial groups.

Speaking at South by Southwest, Universal Pictures marketing chief Doug Neil noted that Facebook ads for the movie shown to whites were different from those shown to blacks and Hispanics, according to Business Insider.

Neil’s reasoning went like this: The assumption was that white people weren’t as familiar with NWA as minorities, but they did know about NWA members Dr. Dre and Ice Cube, the former as the maker of Beats Headphones and the latter as an actor from movies like Are We There Yet? and 21 Jump Street. So the ads shown to white viewers were focused on the rise of the two stars, without mentioning NWA.


Ads shown to blacks, meanwhile, focused on NWA itself, banking on more hip-hop knowledge being found in those consumers. The ad shown to Hispanics was short and included quotes in Spanish.

The strategy appears to have worked, as Straight Outta Compton grossed $160 million in the U.S. Fortune has reached out Universal for comment and will update this story if it responds.

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