As chronicled in the book “The Real Pepsi Challenge” by Stephanie Capparell, in 1940 Pepsi’s president, Walter Mack, hired Herman Smith, an ad man “from the Negro newspaper field” to promote Pepsi in African-American communities. The campaign was so successful it boosted Pepsi’s earnings and market share, helping them edge out Coca-Cola and the African-American consumer market was born.
The NAMD still advocates on behalf of the African-American consumer putting out a document every year called the NAMD Urban Consumer Market Report, a 200 page research report which includes research data on where the urban consumer is spending their money. It includes industries, geographic data, population data and more.
“A lot of people today don’t realize the importance of specifically supporting the African American,”Bond says. “As the older black marketers are retiring from big white corporations, they are being replaced by folks in their twenties who aren’t familiar with NAMD, and a lot of the big companies have shifted their dollars from the African-American market to the Hispanic market. They’ll say, we still have 5% we’re spending with minorities on marketing, but lets give it to the Hispanics this year.”
Bond says Byron Lewis of Uniworld says not only have advertising dollars shifted from the African-American market to the Hispanic market, black advertising professionals are urging marketers to stay away from the word “urban” and to instead say “black” because that will keep the advertising dollars in the black community rather than the more ambiguous “urban” community.
“That’s one of the reasons we advocate for the African-American market specifically,” Bond says, “to make the case with these corporations that the African-American consumer market has value.”
The BUY BLACK Holiday Shopping Expo will be held at First District Plaza, 3801 Market Street in Philadelphia from 10am -6pm. Admission is Free.