Media mogul Byron Allen has been going after major corporations publicly that fail to spend adequate advertising dollars in Black-owned media, and it’s paying off.
A group of 20 big advertisers, including General Mills, L’Oreal, and Nestle, have promised to spend between 2 percent and 5 percent of their annual media budgets on Black-owned media outlets.
Target, Verizon, General Motors and Procter & Gamble have also “demonstrated new willingness to work with Black-owned businesses or forge partnerships with Black creative executives,” Variety reported.
Target intends to spend 5 percent of its budget each year with Black-owned media companies starting in 2022. “The health and longevity of Black-owned publishers is essential to an equitable and representative media landscape, and we recognize an opportunity to drive meaningful change,” said Maurice Cooper, senior vice president of marketing at Target.
GroupM, a media investment company, has secured pledges from 20 companies as a part of its media inclusion initiative — a strategy to support diverse media companies, particularly Black-owned ones, Business Journal reported. Uber is also one of the companies that took the spending pledge along with AARP, Adidas, Citizens, Danone, DoorDash, Ferrara, Mars, MGA Entertainment, Mizkan America Inc., No7 Beauty Company, Pernod Ricard, Pharmavite, Ring, Tyson Foods, and WW International, Inc.
“This partnership with GroupM focusing on Black-owned media is an important part of our anti-racism work and in line with our commitment to double supplier spend with Black-owned businesses,” said Travis Freeman, global head of media and social at Uber, in a statement.
“We have had ongoing initiatives around programs that recognize the world is changing,” said Kirk McDonald, CEO of North American operations at GroupM. “We are asking, ‘How do we actually close the equity gap” between large traditional media companies and smaller ones owned by people from diverse backgrounds “in a healthy way that is a business accelerator for our clients?”
Many are crediting a new awareness of racism in corporate America to the May 25, 2020 police killing of George Floyd and the ensuing protests against racial inequality. Others point to Allen’s targeted message of racism in the ad world.
Allen vowed to sue companies unless they started increasing their ad dollars in Black media outlets. He and other Black media owners joined forces in April to pressure automaker General Motors (GM) to spend more on Black-owned media. Allen’s Entertainment Studios owns 12 TV networks that are carried by major multichannel video programming distributors. His Weather Group owns The Weather Channel. Allen Media Group is also the parent owner of TheGrio.
In May, Allen sued McDonald’s for racial discrimination over the company’s lack of ad spending in Black media. He also threatened to sue General Motors, who later caved and promised to increase its ad spending with Black media.
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“The health and longevity of Black-owned publishers is essential to an equitable and representative media landscape, and we recognize an opportunity to drive meaningful change by spending 5 percent of our budget each year with Black-owned media companies, beginning in 2022, while also increasing our engagement with Black content creators,” said Maurice Cooper, Target’s senior vice president of marketing, in a statement.
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