For the past year, media mogul Byron Allen has been leading the charge for Black-owned media companies through a campaign that aimed to address the inequities in the ad business.
According to an exclusive from AdAge, Allen’s efforts have proven to be successful after advertising giant IPG Mediabrands committed to invest a minimum of five percent in Black-owned media across all of its clients by the year 2023.
“The time is past due to embrace the opportunities to connect with influential audiences through Black-owned media,” Daryl Lee — global CEO at Mediabrands — shared in a 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.”
The outlet also reports ad giant GroupM has pledged to ask its clients to commit two percent of their annual budgets toward spending with Black-owned media, in addition to creating an “accelerator” program to boost Black creative talent.
In a recent interview with Deadline, Byron Allen applauded GroupM’s efforts but described their pledge as being “too skinny” and said that “we’re encouraging them to step up their commitment.”
Allen’s campaign has rallied together all Black media conglomerates to demand brands to allocate more funding from their respective ad budgets toward Black-owned media in an effort to diversify the business.
The campaign reportedly ramped up last summer amid the nationwide protests for the murder of George Floyd and has made great progress over the last few months.
Byron Allen told Deadline he was inspired to lead this campaign by a conversation he had with Coretta Scott King years earlier, who told him that economic opportunity is key to achieving racial justice in this country. “This is the conversation white America doesn’t want to have: true economic inclusion for Black America,” he said.
He also added that the news of these advertising giants’ pledges is a “historic moment for corporate America and for Black America because the greatest trade deficit in the United States is the trade deficit between White corporate America and Black America, and we must close that trade gap immediately so that we can achieve ONE AMERICA.”
According to the media mogul, advertising plays a major role in the “four Es” — education, economic inclusion, equal justice and environmental protection — and the buy-in from the giant holding companies is a turning point for Black media’s future.
Allen is more than determined to get justice for Black-owned media from these advertising giants and said, “I will not stop until every corporation in America follows their excellent example.”