The Madison Avenue Initiative

Millions could be at stake as minority media outlets face an ongoing "blackout" from national advertisers

lose their ethnic identity. On the contrary, educated blacks with household incomes of $75,000-plus tend to shop in clothing stores with African American employees (55.6%), purchase products from companies that feature blacks in advertisements (50%) and support retailers with African American product lines (50%).

Myth #4: The black market is downscale. Although African Americans have different shopping habits than whites, blacks certainly shouldn’t be classified as downscale. More than other shoppers, African Americans support stores that offer a wide selection of brands (51%) and unique merchandise (30%), according to a 1997 study by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City.

Myth #5: General market advertising is enough to attract black consumers. "This is a costly misconception," Leavell insists. A study by the National Newspaper Publishers Association found that more than two-thirds of African Americans read black newspapers. The same study found that most African Americans tend to patronize businesses that place ads in black papers. Says Leavell, "The black press matters more than you think."

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