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Corporate advertising to blacks (Originally Published with Suite101.com)

In Business, Culture, Media Writing, Writing (all kinds) on May 7, 2016 at 3:00 AM

Many companies do not feel it necessary to create advertising aimed specifically at Black communities. Sometimes Trevor Campbell, president of Porter Novelli, is asked in his public relations practice whether he has experience in ethnic media outreach? He says it is hard to measure the media that reaches ethnic communities.

“There’s media monitoring companies and they do not necessarily track those papers, there may be language barriers,” says Campbell. “You’re seeing in some ads that it’s not just a white person, you’re seeing people of all shapes of sizes and people are recognizing that the city is diverse. Ads are a bit easier. The thing with PR is that a spokesperson is interviewed by Sway Magazine by ex-product, many people are going to use that product. We’re looking to target Torontonians that drive fast cars. Perhaps it’s more inclusive that way as well.”

Although the way advertising, PR and marketing work right now are more inclusive, Campbell says that perhaps the black man that drives the fast car has different needs than the white man, but there are many similarities. There are some groups that feel marketing to the black community or having blacks represented in their advertising is important.

“I think this conversation five years from now, 10 years from now, the conversation would be different. Sports, Hip Hop and Stevie Wonder…so many people listen to him [Wonder] people from all walks of life are being impacted. Without having to divide along black and white lines. Looking forward may see more companies focusing on different communities because it may be because of a public service perspective. You also want to connect with the influencers as well and you may see smart advertisers and marketers doing that. Community leaders are important as well, could be the church pastor to the star of the football team. If you have a black person who is a survivor it makes a difference.”

Campbell says that overall he sees corporations or businesses viewing the black community as a larger community – this is how they focus on them and that is how they target them.

“That is how the community is focused along gender, age, educated versus uneducated.”

Sandy Johnson who is currently a recruitment consultant with WWWork, but has a previous career in advertising for television agrees with Campbell and adds that things are different in Canada than they are in the United States.

“I do not know that in the advertising streams that I have been involved with that it is as narrow a stream to target that kind of market,” Johnson says. “The print media that is targeting a specific market that is that kind of way. In television, the message is not targeted to any one group. The fact that there is an effort to represent the groups, it shows there is a more inclusive message, rather than targeting different groups.”

Johnson says that when television commercials are being cast, advertisers have a corporate responsibility to make sure their advertisements represent the Canadian population.

“There is an effort to find the best actors in a television commercial regardless of their ethnicity. If the best actor is black, then that is the way you go. I have never worked on behalf of an advertiser that has felt it is targeted to one group to another. I do not feel the Canadian market targets ethnic groups as much as it is in the United States that may happen because of a bigger population base.”

Johnson notes that in print and web advertising, it is a more selective and targeted style of advertising technique,“the advertising channel and the different groups will dictate more who the market is. Canada also does not have the kind of financial and population base to do targeted marketing. California has a huge Hispanic base, they have the population base to support it.”

Corporate advertising being more inclusive even affects the homes that are targeted to ethnic communities. Amit Kalia who is a real estate broker is marketing City Condos in Mississauga and the multicultural community that surrounds it.

“It has a lot of mixed cultures and communities together,” says Kalia. “There is a festival hosted in the South Asian community. They have something called Carassauga. It is the largest cultural festival in Ontario – it’s called the festival of cultures.”

The condo has all the amenities and features that can be expected in the higher end condo market aiming to attract professionals.

Quoting from a website called Electronic Village, data compiled by essayist and retired patent attorney Richard Everett, African Americans are projected to have spending power of approximately $1 trillion a year by 2010. That will be a significant increase over the roughly $800 billion Blacks are believed to have spent in 2006. If one only takes about 10 percent of this number to determine how much blacks in Canada are spending, those are some powerful purchasing dollars that very well may change the way blacks are targeted in advertising. As Campbell said, advertising has more to do with money and education. The more educated and the more buying power blacks continue to have, advertisers may have to respond to this change.

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