Luxury Brand Advertising Often Absent In Black Media
Black Enterprise Magazine January-March 2019 Issue

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In some affluent circles, the expectation to wear luxury apparel is the same across all races. But blacks inside and outside of the boardroom, courtroom, and ballroom have been known to lead fashion in popular culture through the consumption of luxury brands.

African Americans spent $27 billion on apparel and services in 2008, according to data compiled by Ken Smikle, president and founder of Target Market News, a company that researches marketing, advertising, and media targeting African Americans. But despite that, very little luxury advertising is placed in African American media. This is a problem because without advertising, black media can’t survive.

Luxury fashion brands have demonstrated a history of overlooking black publications, says Earl “Butch” Graves Jr., president and CEO of Earl G. Graves Publishing Co., the publisher of Black Enterprise magazine and an outspoken critic of discriminatory advertising practices.

“If African American consumers actually knew what advertisers generally think about them–or how little they think about them– they would be shocked,” said Graves.

Due to the collapse of the American economy, all companies have slowed spending with advertising across the board. However, a snapshot of ad spending at 23 luxury parent companies that sell apparel, jewelry, timepieces, and accessories in the U.S. shows that most of these brands spent very little to no advertising dollars with black magazine titles.

According to data compiled by Kantar Media, a marketing and research company, the top four magazines targeting black audiences, Essence, Ebony, Black Enterprise, and Vibe, received 0.54% of ad revenue from the 23 luxury retailers in 2008. None of the companies placed ads in Ebony magazine that year. Also, according to Upscale magazine, none of the luxury companies included in Kantar’s research placed ads in their publication.

Fourteen of the 23 companies spent zero ad dollars with black magazines, including Rolex Watch Co., Giorgio Armani, Prada, Gianni Versace, and Coach.

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Marcia Wade Talbert

Marcia is a multimedia content producer focusing on technology at Black Enterprise Magazine. In this capacity she writes and assigns stories to educate readers about social media; digital integration; gadgets, apps, and software for business and professional development; minority tech startups; and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In 2012, she received two Salute to Excellence Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and was recognized by Blacks in Technology (BiT) as one of the Top 10 Black achievers in the tech arena for 2011 at SXSW in Austin, Texas. She has spoken about technology on panels for New York Social Media Week, at The 2012 Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Summit, as well as at Black Enterprise’s Entrepreneurs Conference and Women of Power Summit. In 2011, chose her as one of 28 People of Color Impacting the Social Web, and through crowdsourcing she was listed as one of BlackWeb2.0's/HP's 50 Most Notable African American Tastemakers in Social Media and Technology for 2010. Since taking on the role of Tech editor in September 2010, she has conceived and produced five cover stories on Technology and/or STEM and countless articles, videos, and slideshows online. Before joining as an interactive general assignment reporter in 2008, she freelanced with Black Enterprise beginning in 2003 while working as the technical editor at Prepared Foods magazine. There she further honed her writing skills and became an authority on food ingredients, including ingredients used in food fortification and enrichment. Meanwhile, her freelancing with Black Enterprise and helped her stay current on issues pertaining to the financial and business welfare of African Americans. As a general reporter for Black Enterprise she attended and reported on the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, where she interviewed Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor and assistant to President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Marcia has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with an emphasis in food science from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Science degree in journalism from Roosevelt University in Chicago. En route to her secondary degree, she served as the editor-in-chief of the Roosevelt University Torch, a weekly, student-run newspaper. An avid photographer and videographer, Marcia is one of several employees at BLACK ENTERPRISE who interned for the publishing company as a college student. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, a food scientist; her seventeen-month-old daughter; and “The Cat”, but still considers Chicago home.