IPG Mediabrands, a self-described client-first, community-driven group of 13,000 media and marketing specialists, has committed to invest at least 5% of its advertising budget in Black-owned media across all its clients by 2023.
The announcement comes as brands and their advertising agencies are being pushed to spend more with Black media companies. IPG’s commitment leaves room for clients to spend more than 5% of their ad budgets in Black-owned media.
“The time is past due to embrace the opportunities to connect with influential audiences through Black-owned media,” Daryl Lee, global CEO at IPG Mediabrands, said in an emailed statement. “Innovation and growth are flourishing across Black-owned media outlets, providing brands with deeply authentic ways to reach diverse audiences in a supportive, meaningful manner. We are excited to be adding our voice to a growing industry conversation in support of greater diversity and equity in media spend.”
According to Nielsen data, last year, Black media companies received less than 2% of total ad spending. That’s almost non-existent when considering Black Americans make up 13% of the U.S. population and represent $1.4 trillion in buying power.
Byron Allen, CEO of the Allen Media Group emailed General Motors CEO Mary Barra requesting a meeting concerning the company’s ad spending. The group discovered just .5% of GM’s ad revenue goes to Black-owned media.
Barra brushed aside the meeting and GM’s Chief Marketing Officer Deborah Wahl responded saying she would meet with a group of Black media CEOs. That prompted Allen, rapper O’Shea ‘Ice Cube’ Jackson, Black Enterprise CEO Earl ‘Butch’ Graves, and several owners of Black-owned media companies to take out a full-page ad in local newspapers where GM is headquartered, calling Barra a racist.
“Mary, you have asked us to meet with your Chief Marketing Officer, Deborah Wahl. We have absolutely no interest in that because when Deborah was Chief Marketing Officer of McDonald’s, in our opinion, Black Owned Media was, once again, severely neglected, minimized and discriminated against. To be clear, Black Owned Media and not minority owned, because minority includes white women and large corporations like General Motors can hide behind and tout their minority records while continuing not to do business with Black Owned Media companies.”
According to IPG, one issue in getting companies to invest in Black media companies has been a lack of Nielsen measurements and tools that media sellers rely on. However, because advertisers don’t invest in Black media companies, they have less money to invest in the tools necessary to develop those tools.
IPG has highlighted working with Black media companies including Urban One, ReachTV, Revolt, Blavity, Ebony, and Essence. The agency will also continue hosting monthly equity sessions that present the content and marketing capabilities of Black media.