• Ethnicity has become a key interest of advertisers in diverse societies. Contrary to the
    popular argument that ethnic identities are threatened by the intensified influence of media
    and consumer culture, they have become the core sites of representation and reproduction
    of ethnic identities. It is arguable that in today’s (mass) mediated societies there are no ways
    of imagining ethnicities without the media’s influence and impact on them. Advertising1
    , no
    longer a mere commercial activity, is an important component of popular culture and hence
    plays a crucial part in the social and cultural life of our times. Sri Lanka2
    has long been a
    country of communal unrest, which culminated in a civil war. Northeast India is a region
    where a number of conflicting identities are in a constant battle of production and reproduction.
    The ways the ethnic identities are represented in advertisements in these two societies are
    worthy of studying in this context. When ad-makers segment a market for a particular brand,
    they mostly rely on ethnic identities. As a result, advertisements too become a site of
    reproduction of ethnic identities. This paper is intended to identify and analyze the ways of
    representations of ethnic identities in advertisements in Northeast India3
    and Sri Lanka by a
    comparative reading of a sample of print and electronic advertisements.