Dentsu International has teamed up with One Solution, the branded solution division of Urban One, to launch what the ad agency network is calling a “first-of-its-kind audio series.” Created for Black audiences and distributed exclusively by Black-owned media outlets, "More Than That with Gia Peppers” will air exclusively across the Spotset NABOB Radio Network, Urban One, and American Urban Radio Networks.
The nine-part audio series is described as a “sonic journey across Black America,” featuring entertainment journalist Gia Peppers talking with well-known guests about topics impacting and inspiring Black American listeners. Part radio show, part podcast, part historical record, the series “leverages the powerful medium of audio storytelling to bring thought-provoking conversations detailing the Black experience to life,” Dentsu said in a press release.
Consistent with its goal of promoting diversity, equity and inclusion, Dentsu calls the series “a new model for an authentic way to co-create unique and engaging content while also shifting media dollars to create a more equitable supply chain.”
The new program is part of Dentsu’s Project Booker initiative, which aims to direct more ad dollars to minority-owned and targeted media outlets. Named after industrial and civil rights pioneer and educator Booker T. Washington, the program is emblematic of how, after years of underinvesting in the space, agencies and brands are stepping up their efforts in response to the national conversation about racial justice.
In addition to conceiving the series, Dentsu enlisted Kroeger, General Motors and Procter & Gamble as sponsors.
In a press release, the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters called it “a historic event, which clearly grew out of the events of 2020, where people of every race, ethnicity, and age group took to the streets to demand an end to systemic racial discrimination in our society. Like many corporations, Dentsu spoke out about the need to promote change – but unlike most, Dentsu has come through with meaningful action,” the NABOB statement continued.
Sherman Kizart, Managing Director of Kizart Media Partners, called the effort “transformative for urban radio and the NABOB community.” Kizart’s work to develop a relationship with Doug Ray, Chief Product Officer of Dentsu Media Americas, “was the spark that generated this new collaboration,” said NABOB President Jim Winston.
“This is an incredibly important contribution to the expansion of Black storytelling,” Peppers said in a statement. “In this audio series, we will get the chance to dive into the worlds of the award-winning writers, venture capitalists, social activists and advocates for wellness.”
Dentsu’s Ray said the positive response from NABOB and its members to the agency’s initial concept assured Dentsu and its clients “that we could do something together that has never been done before – and most importantly, do it authentically.
“We believe this show defines a new model for how marketers can engage ethnic audiences at scale, and it’s our ambition to use it to create meaningful progress in the media supply chain and in wider culture today and in the future,” Ray added.
Jim Winston, President of NABOB said, “Black-owned media are pillars of our communities. However, our communities can only prosper if the pillars of our communities are financially sound. By recognizing the need to support Black-owned media and Black communities by supporting programming content created by and for our communities, dentsu, Kroger, P&G, and General Motors have taken meaningful action to help end systemic racial discrimination.”