A month after GroupM launched an initiative to steer more of its clients’ advertising dollars into Black-owned media, the ad agency says so far 20 companies have backed the pledge. Each will allocate a minimum of two percent of their ad budgets to the effort.
The list includes several of the biggest advertisers including AARP, Adidas, Citizens, Danone, DoorDash, Ferrara, General Mills, L'Oréal USA, Mars, MGA Entertainment, Mizkan America (maker of Ragu), Nestlé, No7 Beauty Company, Pernod Ricard, Pharmavite (the maker of Nature Made vitamins and supplements), Ring, Target, Tyson Foods, Uber, and WW International.
"Today's bold commitment by our GroupM clients is essential to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion across the media landscape," said Gonzalo del Fa, President of GroupM Multicultural.
GroupM last month unveiled the Media Inclusion Initiative, a program geared to support and grow diverse Black-owned media companies and creators. It includes the 2+% Pledge that urges clients to invest at least two percent of their total annual media budgets in Black-owned media during the next 12 months.
"Investing in the Black-owned media companies of today and the future, is at the core of the Media Inclusion Initiative,” said del Fa. “We plan to continue to work with all our clients to identify further ways to do just that,” he added in a statement
Even as the effort sets a two percent base, some marketers are overshooting that. Target said it would spend five percent of its budget each year with Black-owned media beginning in 2022. Target Senior VP Maurice Cooper said they recognize the retailer could “drive meaningful change” by altering where it places it buys, especially for the struggling Black press. “The health and longevity of Black-owned publishers is essential to an equitable and representative media landscape,” said Cooper.
Other companies were less specific about their ad share allocation, at least publicly. But yogurt maker Danone North America said its media placement is part of a “larger journey” toward better reflecting diversity in its advertising content. “Evaluating our media investments to ensure they are spent with Black-owned media companies is an important step in combatting racial inequality and creating new economic opportunities for diverse communities,” said Danone’s Terrance Irizarry.
Matt Sweeney, GroupM’s Chief Investment Officer in the U.S., said it was inspiring to see such “immediate enthusiasm” among their clients. He takes the response as a reinforcement that the agency is heading in the right direction. “Directing investment toward Black-owned media is essential to the future of our industry and a priority for GroupM in our mission to create a more equitable ecosystem and make advertising work better for people,” he said.
GroupM’s Media Inclusion Imitative also features a “Diverse Voices Accelerator” fund that will invest in Black-owned content creators.The platform will support writers, producers, directors, talent and production companies in the development, funding, distribution and marketing of premium content for GroupM’s clients. First focusing on Black-owned initiatives and companies, GroupM said it will eventually expand to represent other traditionally underrepresented communities in entertainment and media.