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BlackStats                      
Frequently requested data on African American consumers

Black Buying Power:
  $656 Billion (2003)

Black U.S. Population:
  38.3 million

Top Five Black Cities
  - New York
  - Chicago
  - Detroit
  - Philadelphia
  - Houston

Top Five Black Metros:
  - New York-New Jersey
  - Washington-Baltimore
  - Chicago-Gary
  - Los Angeles
  - Philadelphia

Top Five Expenditures:
 - Housing 145.2 bil.
 - Food 56.5 bil.
 - Cars/Trucks 32.6 bil.
 - Clothing 23.0 bil.
 - Health Care 18.0 bil.

Click here for more stats from "The Buying Power of Black America."
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Bureau Data

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MARKETING NEWS
THE LATEST ON CONSUMER PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

Verizon uses real customer stories in multi-media campaign from Burrell

(Sept. 8, 2005) The stars of a first-of-its-kind integrated, multi-media multicultural grassroots marketing campaign are real people who are pursuing their entrepreneurial and community service passions with the help of Verizon broadband services.

Verizon developed the campaign - "Realize" - with advertising/communications partner, Chicago-based Burrell, one of the nation's leading African-American owned full service communications agencies. Using a combination of traditional and non-traditional media, Verizon speaks directly to people in some of the very Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia area neighborhoods where the dreams of customers featured in its campaign are rooted.

Branded communications go to market beginning, Sept. 12 and include posters, mobile billboards, wraps for magazines given to hair salon patrons, advertorials in African American newspapers, targeted radio, bus shelters and a hand-painted mural.

"'Realize' is about real people - the guy next door or the mom of your child's classmate - people from actual neighborhoods where the advertising appears, friends and neighbors who are starting their own businesses or strengthening their communities with the help of Verizon's broadband services," said Jerri DeVard, Verizon's senior vice president, brand management and marketing communications. "This grassroots effort is the result of marketing insights that reveal large percentages of working African-Americans and other minorities in the country are investing - often as a 'side business' -- in their entrepreneurial dreams."

The first four weeks of the campaign, which began Aug. 15, included unbranded positive messages on mobile billboards, posters in convenience store windows and magazine wrappers. The messages were powerful words and images, such as "Realize Opportunity" with a photograph of a stack of books and "Realize Potential" along with a pair of boxing gloves. The second phase of the Realize campaign ties the unbranded messages to the brand and product -- Verizon Online DSL -- and connects each of the messages to a customer.

Simultaneously, Verizon's African American employee resource group, Consortium of Information and Telecommunications Executives, will work with Multicultural Marketing to show consumers first-hand how they can use broadband to pursue their passions. The hands-on experiences will take place on a special Realize mobile unit, which will travel to company-sponsored community events and other venues in the Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. areas. In addition, at undisclosed locations and times, selected customers will perform demonstrations before live audiences and via web cam to show how, with the help of Verizon broadband services, they are pursuing their passions and dreams.


Serena Williams to create cosmetics collection for Estee Lauder’s Flirt line

(August 31, 2005)Tennis superstar Serena Williams has teamed up with Estee Lauder Companies to be the 2006 guest creator for its Flirt! cosmetics line. William's first collection will debut in February 2006 at Kohl's Department Stores nationwide and online at kohls.com.

"Flirt! is a brand driven by pop culture," stated Jane Hudis, President, Flirt! cosmetics. "Serena is the perfect personality to continue the buzz with a celebrity collection. She is fearless on the court, dynamic and energetic, yet when she steps on the red carpet she is sexy, flirtatious and completely alluring."

Flirt!, the makeup line with more then 250 colors pushes the boundaries to be a little more daring with makeup. Flirt! enlists the creative talents of favorite personalities from pop culture to express their unique sense of style and creativity in cosmetics. The Guest Creator may work on a new color, a new product, a new accessory or an entire collection.

"I am a complete beauty junkie and being in the fashion business, I stay ahead of the trends," stated Williams. "Now I am able to create makeup that works with what is in style. Creating cosmetics allows me to be glamorous and adventurous plus show off my flirtatious side, a fun contrast to my life on the court."


Landmark book gives executives clarity and insights on African-American consumers

(August 31, 2005) Two of the nation's foremost African-American marketers have joined forces to author a landmark book that contains power strategies designed to help companies capture more of the $700 billion dollar buying power from the African-American consumer.

Written by Pepper Miller and Herb Kemp (above) and titled, What's Black About It? Insights to Increase Your Share of the Changing African-American Market, this pioneering reference is being hailed as a long-awaited tool and a standout in the universe of marketing references.

Gleaned from their decades of market research and observations, What's Black About It? offers in-depth, qualitative insights and quantitative information on Black culture. It also gives a unique glimpse into the breadth and depth of the Black experience.

The book debunks myths and provides rare clarity into the mindsets, aspirations and subtle differences. Importantly, if understood, appreciated and applied, the information can motivate marketers to create inspired and intelligent advertising and marketing campaigns that will resonate with the customer and propel sales.

Among the topics and perspectives covered by the authors are:

- The economic value of marketing to African-Americans

- The fundamental cultural differences between African-American and general market consumers

- Why mainstream communications may "miss the mark" with black consumers

- The reason why savvy marketers should reconsider dismissing of reducing marketing programs targeting African-Americans

The importance of corporate infrastructure that support black target marketing

Says Miller, "Many advertising agencies and corporate marketers are too often guilty of viewing Black life through media images that hype, distort, exaggerate and 'caricaturize' the black experience."

Kemp adds, "Most marketers don't realize that the African-American consumer market is projected to exceed $1 trillion by 2010 and is one of the largest, highly-visible and most-influential segments; yet, seemingly, it is also the most misunderstood and undervalued by today's corporate consumer marketers."

According to William Mitchell, Director of Customer Research for American Airlines, What's Black About It? is a "first-rate book that will, no doubt, alter the way Corporate America views and markets to African-American consumers."


What's Black About It? lists for $39.95. For a limited time, the book can be purchased for $29.95 online at www.paramountbooks.com or by contacting Paramount Market Publishing, Inc., at 1-888-787-8100.

BET teams with Wal-Mart on launch of new branded DVD entertainment line


(August 30, 2005) BET and Wal-Mart are forming a marketing alliance to meet the demand for urban-oriented music and movie offerings with BET content and branding. BET President and CEO Debra L. Lee and Wal-Mart Vice President of Merchandising David Porter made the joint announcement today at BET headquarters in Washington and Wal-Mart's global headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas.
 
Under the alliance, BET will provide Wal-Mart with DVDs containing exclusive BET programming and other content related to featured urban-oriented music and movie releases. These DVDs will be packaged with the featured releases and sold as "BET Official" branded two-packs in BET-branded retail sections and other merchandising displays throughout thousands of Wal- Mart and SAM'S CLUB locations.
 
First to hit Wal-Mart stores under the new BET Official brand will be a companion DVD featuring multi-talented, Grammy Award-winning rapper/producer Kanye West. The DVD will be paired with West's highly-anticipated new CD project, "Late Registration," in a special CD/DVD two-pack available exclusively at SAM'S CLUB locations and Wal-Mart stores nationwide.
 
"This marketing and promotion alliance with Wal-Mart pairs BET's powerful brand and stellar content with trend-setting, urban-oriented music and movies to enhance Wal-Mart's appeal in urban entertainment product," said Lee. "Over the years, we've sought creative ways to deliver more BET programming content through retail channels. And what better way than combining the ultimate retailer with the greatest Black consumer brand on the planet."
 
"We're excited to be able to bring our customers some of the most popular music and movie titles in this category and our relationship with BET allows us to offer exclusive releases with award-winning artists," said Wal-Mart's Porter. "This is a relationship that will bring cutting-edge entertainment for customers of all ages."
 
The "BET Official Presents Kanye West" DVD contains BET-produced programming along with never-before-seen footage of the superstar rapper, producer and urban icon. Included on the DVD is a dynamic mix of content featuring a BET behind-the-scenes "docu-feature" with West on the set of his music video, “Diamonds From Sierra Leone;” West's interview and performance on 106 & PARK: BET'S TOP 10 LIVE, and a series of West's popular music videos including “Diamonds From Sierra Leone,” “Through the Wire,” “The New Workout Plan,” and a previously unreleased version of the multi-platinum “Jesus Walks.” The CD/DVD package will retail for $13.88, and will be promoted through specially-designed BET-branded merchandising displays, print and electronic advertising, in-store promotions and other marketing executions.

Milwaukee Brewers set baseball attendance record using black and Hispanic marketing

(August 29, 2005) The Milwaukee Brewers are on pace to have their best season at the gate and in revenue since Miller Park's inaugural season in 2001.

With fan excitement over new ownership, improved play on the field that has brought the team to near a .500 record, and an aggressive advertising campaign, the team is averaging 28,140 per game through the first 57 home games. That is a 9.5 percent increase over the per-game average of 25,688 through 57 games during the 2004 season.

[One] reason for the increased attendance has been the team's effort to market to area Hispanics and African-Americans, Schlesinger said. In April, the team hired Abrazo Multicultural Marketing and Communications, Milwaukee, to enhance marketing efforts to the Hispanic community. The team has opened five ticket branches in Latino neighborhoods, including one at the United Community Center, along with increasing advertising in Spanish newspapers and other publications.

The team followed that by hiring Malik Communications Inc., Milwaukee, to coordinate the Brewers' direct marketing and ticket programs geared to the African-American community.

"More fans are coming to Miller Park and we are starting to see the fruits of our efforts to attract diverse groups," Schlesinger said. "This is not a one-year program, but the groundwork has been set for continued growth in attendance from the African-American and Hispanic markets."
Click here to read entire story


Allianz Life Insurance names Circulation Experti for black consumer marketing

(August 26, 2005) Circulation Expertí, Ltd., a multicultural agency specializing in providing public relations, advertising and marketing services, recently announced that it was retained by Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America and Allianz Life Insurance Company of New York to promote the company’s products and services to the African-American market.
 
Allianz Life is a leading provider of fixed and variable annuities and life policies, as well as long term care products throughout the U.S. Earlier this year, the company initiated a campaign to generate greater awareness of the company and its products among African-American, Asian and Hispanic consumers. In addition, the company hopes to recruit a more diverse distribution network, and provide greater support to existing agents and registered representatives who serve multicultural markets.

Expertí will support these efforts with event marketing, media relations, sponsorship participation and advertising services designed to assist Allianz Life in increasing brand awareness and market share within African-American communities.

“Allianz Life recognizes that African-American consumers have the same financial needs as the general population and that, with a buying power in excess of $723 billion, this customer base presents a business opportunity that, for the well-positioned financial services company, is capable of providing significant rewards,” said W. Garrison Jackson, president and CEO, Circulation Expertí (above). “Our agency looks forward to helping Allianz Life enhance its presence and opportunities to do business in African-American communities.”

“Our goal is to become the leading financial services company for emerging markets,” explained Baron Carr, vice president of multicultural marketing, Allianz Life. “We are committed to providing multicultural sales and marketing tools, and building relationships with institutions in these communities.”

Anheuser-Busch to create
Inside Anheuser-Busch's changes in African-American, Hispanic marketing

By Mike Beirne
BrandWeek.com
(August 21, 2005) Anheuser-Busch has created two vice presidents' slots to lead the brewer's multicultural marketing charge.

Johnny Furr Jr., vp-sales development and community affairs, will oversee African-American marketing efforts, and Henry Dominguez, vp-government affairs West Region, is the new vp-Hispanic marketing.

The appointments follow promotion of Bob Lachky to the newly created post of evp-global industry development, and the moving of new product development vet Marlene Coulis to succeed him as the new vp-brand management and director of global creative. Other moves mentioned in an A-B memo include moving Keith Levy, vp-retail, and John Johnson, vp-regional sales operations, to new sales posts. Jim Schumaker, vp-creative development, and Dave English, vp-premium brands were appointed to strategic development roles reporting to Coulis.

The changes among the executive ranks of Anheuser-Busch are perceived by the brewer's distribution network more as tweaking the wisdom already in house rather than a management shakeup. The newly promoted are, after all, long-time insiders.

A-B quietly alerted wholesalers about the new executive appointments through a company memo last week and used a Monday press conference to announce the launch of Tilt, a new malt beverage with caffeine, guarana and ginseng. The company did not return calls for comment.

The No. 1 brewer has had brand managers for target audiences before, but creating two vice president slots marks the departure from marketing strategy, which held that Budweiser, Bud Light and the Clydesdales have such broad appeal that by reaching everyone, A-B can appeal to specific consumer groups. That approach had frustrated African-American company managers who confided to multicultural ad agency sources that brewing executives failed to see that there is more to marketing to black consumers than just community relations.

Both African-American and Hispanic demographics are among the fastest growing consumer segments with 57% of African-Americans younger than 35 and the overall black population expected to increase 27% by 2020. Latinos of legal drinking age comprise a sizeable segment of Hispanic consumers—the median age is 25.8 years old compared with 35.5 for the U.S population—and that ethnic group is projected to grow 27% by 2010, per the University of Georgia's Selig Center.

"Having vice presidents in the company cover these specific initiatives is a great step in the right direction but it's really not a stride, and I think there is a lot of work they are going to have to do," said Bob McNeil Jr., founder and president of Images USA, an independent Atlanta shop whose roster includes McDonalds, Pepsi, Wachovia, Bermuda Ministry of Tourism, Home Depot and Cox Communications.

A-B has hit marketing homeruns by injecting the “Wassup” guys into popular culture and utilizing the broad appeal of Cedric the Entertainer in the current TV spots for Bud Light and designated-driver initiatives. But McNeil notes that competitors are doing far more to break through into both communities with much less.

For example, Coors has had multicultural outreaches crafted by Carol H. Williams Advertising, New York, and Bromley Communications, San Antonio. Miller has been involved in the Thurgood Marshall Foundation, and features Mexican comedian Adal Ramones in spots from Bravo, New York.

And Heineken may be the best multicultural marketer in the beer category with grassroots programs such as the NYC Latino Tour program of summer concerts, and scholarships to support budding urban talent through the Heineken Music Initiative.

"Adding these two people to their arsenal is good, and I'm sure they're going to bring good ideas, but they'll have to find a way to have a breakthrough on delivery to each one of the targets,' said Images' McNeil. "They'll have to think about mature marketing in an innovative way because their competitors are extremely hungry."

A-B is not starting from scratch in the multicultural marketing game because it does have an infrastructure for gleaning insights about their targets. For instance, the brewer teamed with Cadbury Schweppes' Clamato to cross-promote in grocery stores purchases of Bud and the tomato cocktail for mixing michiladas, a popular beverage among Mexican Americans. The brewer is positioning Michelob among Asian Americans as a cooking and beverage ingredient through efforts like "The Kitchen Gods"—a calendar featuring Asian-America's best chefs—and backing events like the Asian Pacific Filmmakers' reception at the Sundance Film Festival.

Other efforts include teaming Latin music acts with 3-on-3 soccer tournaments and the Esta Noche Toca concert series.

On the African-American front, A-B has sponsored the Budweiser Essence Music Festival and snagged urban and hip-hop artists to host private parties in various markets under the Bud Light Lounge program.

A-B's roster of Hispanic agencies includes del Rivero Messianu DDB, Coral Gables, Fla.; Dieste Harmel & Partners, Dallas; and LatinWorks Marketing, Austin. Spike DDB, New York, which handled Super Bowl creative for Pepsi, also has handled A-B duties.

While in his previous post, Lachky traveled to China and the UK and oversaw creation of the British version of "Real Men of Genius” which poked fun at American stereotypes. Now as the evp-global industry development for the world's largest brewer, he is charged enhancing the industry's image here and abroad.

"All I know is that whatever his role, it will be prominent," said an Eastern distributor.

GlaxoSmithKline backs anti-smoking effort targeting blacks through murals

(August 16, 2005) GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Consumer Healthcare has joined together with the Madison Square Boys & Girls Club to celebrate and encourage smoke-free lives with MyCityMyArt, an educational program designed to reach out to the African-American population about the dangers of smoking.

The program -- which includes an art competition, art lessons for children and a virtual art gallery to display their work -- will kickoff in five major U.S. cities this week.

As part of the program, Slang, a professional commercial artist, helped lead an art class with children from Madison Square Boys & Girls Club to enlist them to create their own creative quit-smoking themed art. The results will become part of a nationwide competition against four other artists in Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles and Philadelphia.

The murals from the five cities will be posted online at
http://www.mycitymyart.com for the public to view and vote for the best mural. The winning artist will be announced in October 2005 and will unveil his design at a prominent location in his home city. The same web site features galleries of the children's art and includes options to send your favorite mural designs to friends and family.

"Urban murals have previously been used by the tobacco industry to market their products, so we think it's about time we used this vehicle to help the community," said GSK Consumer Healthcare's Vice-President, Smoking Control, Bill Slivka. "MyCityMyArt is part of our commitment to helping people tap into their inner strength. For many quitters, quitting is a process measured by the little things that help end their relationship with cigarettes. One of these murals or an email with a child's design may inspire a smoker to think about quitting."

Restructuring at Ford puts Darryl Hazel at head of marketing for company brands

(August 10, 2005) Under a recently announced restructuring plan at Ford Motor Co., all marketing activities for Ford corporate, the Ford division and the Lincoln division will overseen by Darryl B. Hazel (left) in his new position as vice president of marketing. Hazel was already one of the auto industry’s highest ranking executives in his previous post as vice president of Ford Motor Co. and president of the Ford division.

The consolidation of the Ford and Lincoln-Mercury marketing divisions will also include a reduction of two-thirds of the number of field offices that support the 4,445 Ford and Lincoln Mercury dealerships nationwide. The restructuring is an effort to lower operating costs and streamline advertising, inventory management, customer service and warranty repair.

“We’re going to reach customers in smarter, more focused ways than ever before while being extremely efficient with resources,” says Steve Lyons, Ford group vice president, North America Marketing, Sales and Service. “This new organization will help us develop a single-minded concentration on reaching our customers with the strongest product lineup in our history.”

“Today's marketplace is fragmented into ever smaller niche groups than in the past,” says Hazel. “Our new Marketing organization will focus on reaching individual customers with increasing relevance and excitement.”

Hazel joined Ford Motor Company in 1972 as an analyst in Lincoln Mercury's New York District Sales Office. During his six years in New York, he served in various capacities, including marketing manager, business management manager and field manager. He also had managerial assignments in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Cleveland and Boston.

From August 2002 to April 2005, Hazel was president, Lincoln Mercury Division. Prior to Lincoln Mercury, he was president of Ford Customer Service Division.

Anheuser-Busch to create new African-American and Hispanic marketing VP posts

By Jim Arndorfer
Adage.com
(Augnust 8, 2005)
Anheuser-Busch is creating new VP positions to oversee Hispanic and African-American marketing, reflecting the brewer’s increased focus on ethnic markets as it struggles to reverse sales and market share declines.

Henry Dominguez, a longtime Anheuser-Busch executive who has held sales and marketing positions in the past, will return from California, where he is currently vice president for government affairs for the western region to take the top Hispanic job.

Imminent announcement

Mr. Dominguez’s appointment is expected to be announced this week, along with that of Johnny Furr Jr. as vice president for African-American marketing, according to several executives familiar with the matter. Mr. Furr is vice president of sales development and community affairs, a job in which he is already involved with consumer awareness, education and marketing, and sales initiatives to African-American consumers.

The creation of a Hispanic marketing department headed by a vice president includes the recent promotion of Juan Torres to the post of director of Latino marketing. Mr. Torres, who is from Colombia, was previously Hispanic brand manager for Budweiser. Rudy Beltran, Hispanic brand manager for Bud Light, may also take on a somewhat different role, said executives familiar with the changes.

Beer marketing is a highly competitive category in the Hispanic market. Anheuser-Busch was the second-largest beer marketer, and ranked No. 36 overall, among Hispanic advertisers in 2004, spending $20 million. Only SABMiller ranked higher, at No. 28, with ad spending of $24 million.
Click here to read entire story

Missy Elliott to get an expanded role in Jeep's marketing plans

By Sarah Webster
Detroit Free Press
(July 28, 2005) At a time when the popularity of SUVs is waning, the new Jeep Commander -- which the Chrysler Group will launch today at the Jefferson North Assembly Plant in Detroit -- will be rolled out with an urban, hip-hop marketing campaign.

Missy (Misdemeanor) Elliott is featuring the vehicle in her new video, "Lose Control," and a Chrysler official confirmed that the automaker is in negotiations to expand her promotion of the SUV in an effort to paint a street-smart attitude for the vehicle.

Chrysler is working with Elliott to create 30 seconds of unique music that is going to be featured in the first launch spot for the Commander, which is to hit dealerships in September, and footage of her is expected to be integrated in the advertisement, according to a source familiar with the talks. The person wished to remain anonymous to avoid jeopardizing the negotiations.

"We're in discussions for some future uses," Julie Roehm, director of marketing communications for Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep, confirmed.

Although she would not elaborate on the relationship, Roehm noted that it won't be in the style of Chrysler's coolly-received association with Celine Dion, which featured a lot of advertisements that focused more on the svelte diva than the company's vehicles.

Roehm said celebrity affiliations have to feel unobtrusive and natural. Looser associations with hip-hop stars such as Snoop Dogg and 50 Cent have helped propel the image of vehicles such as the Chrysler 300 and competitors like the Cadillac Escalade. Some other rappers are hyping the new Dodge Charger.

John Scott, general manager of Snethkamp Chrysler-Jeep in Redford, said it's great to have the company's new products featured in any new videos, regardless of who the artist is, to get the attention of younger buyers.

But Elliott is, arguably, the biggest hip-hop star to lend her name to a Chrysler product, and the Jeep brand wants to maximize the promotional opportunity -- especially the potential to tap into the growing minority market, which has been one of the few demographics bolstering SUV sales.

Although Elliott's work is filled with profanity and sex, she is mostly well regarded by critics and popular with consumers. She has won three Grammy Awards for performances of hits such as "Work It," "Itchin' " and "Get Ur Freak On."

Elliott also has produced and written a variety of hits for other artists, such as the revised "Lady Marmalade," which was performed by Christina Aguilera, Pink, Lil' Kim and Mya. Not so long ago, she also was featured in a Gap commercial with Madonna.

As it happens, Elliott also is a car aficionado.

Myles Kovacs, president and cofounder of Dub magazine, which will hold an auto-customizing show Aug. 7 in Detroit and the man who customized the Commander for Elliott's video, said Elliott has been featured on its cover before.

"Her car collection is better than a lot of guys'," he said. "Missy is one of the icons for female rappers in the world. She's a huge trend-setter and influencer in the marketplace."

So the video featuring the new Jeep Commander is getting a lot of exposure with a younger generation of consumers, to whom marketers nationwide are trying to sell virtually everything, from magazines to vehicles. And Elliott has the credibility to peddle it.

Jeep could use the extra attention.

Sales of large SUVs, which are highly profitable for their manufacturers, are suffering overall -- largely a consequence of higher gas prices. Sales of the largest SUVs were down 12.4% for the first six months of the year, compared with the same period a year ago, according to Autodata Corp. of Woodcliff Lake, N.J.

So the Commander, the first Jeep to have three rows of seats, will join that less-popular crowd of hulking vehicles. Boosting the Commander's image with younger buyers -- especially African Americans and Hispanics -- could prove critical to overcoming the obstacle faced by the largest SUVs.

The average age of a Jeep buyer is 44 years old, and about 38.5% of the buyers are women, according to the Power Information Network.

But the percentage of African American and Hispanic buyers of the Jeep Grand Cherokee, the largest Jeep currently on the market, is only 7.5% and 6.9% respectively, according to Art Spinella, president of CNW Marketing Research in Bandon, Ore. He said that the appeal of the vehicle to minorities may be more critical to improve because CNW research shows that minorities are bolstering sales of several key large SUVs.

African Americans and Hispanics made up just about 11% and 12%, respectively, of new vehicle buyers this year. But African Americans and Hispanics bought 21% and 14% of the Cadillac Escalades this year.

"Obviously, what they're trying to do is increase their overall African-American penetration," Spinella said of the latest Jeep marketing endeavor.


Wal-Mart announces its backing of 'Voice of Color' and ABFF film programs

Wal-Mart. Always Low Prices. Always.(July 13, 2005) Wal-Mart Stores has announced that this fall it will launch Voices of Color, a unique, multi-dimensional program that aims to give 'voice' to a broader and more positive depiction of African-American images, via wide range, quality programming for the whole family.

As a prelude to the Voices of Color program, the retailer has also announced that it is sponsoring the 2005 American Black Film Festival, July 13th through July 17th in Miami, Florida. The ABFF is expected to draw more than 2,500 guests who will enjoy a showcase of the best in independent black cinema.

Wal-Mart recently partnered with Time Warner's Global Marketing group to create an advertising-supported film series called The Voices of Color -- a compilation of important films that celebrate African Americans including "The Color Purple." This and other titles will be available for purchase in DVD and VHS formats from walmart.com and at select Wal-Mart stores nationwide.

As part of the program, Wal-Mart will sponsor the broadcast of monthly movie specials featuring significant black films on Time Warner-owned television networks including TNT and TBS. These movie specials will also be promoted in Time Inc.'s “Essence” magazine and through an exclusive online partnership with AOL Black Voices, which will develop original content features as an enhancement to the series. The series, which will include films ranging from timeless classics to contemporary favorites, is designed to highlight the range and depth of the African-American experience.

"Wal-Mart is proud to support cinema that highlights the diversity and depth of the African-American experience," said Troy Steiner, senior media director, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. "For many years, the roles African Americans could play in mainstream films were very limited and the ABFF is in part responsible for helping the film industry, and the world, see African Americans in a different, more positive light."

"We are supporting African-American filmmaking because it makes good business sense," said Steiner. "We would like to see these wonderful films gain a wider audience, so we are making it possible for our customers to enjoy them both on network television and by making them part of their family film libraries. We certainly hope the Voices of Color film series and the other program components serve as an invitation to African Americans to consider Wal-Mart as their first choice when looking for quality movies that tell their stories."

Vigilante's Pontiac/Oprah giveaway takes highest honor at Cannes Ad Fest

(June 27, 2005) The Pontiac Division of General Motors Corporation won a Cannes Gold Media Lion award last week in France at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival for its unprecedented giveaway of 276 G6s to every audience member on the Oprah Winfrey Show "Wildest Dreams" season opener in September 2004.

The campaign was created by the Vigilante agency and its senior vice president, Andrea Fant-Hobbs (above). Pontiac was the only United States entry to win a Media Lion. The annual Cannes event recognizes the very best of international advertising, creativity and marketing communications executions from entries representing 75 countries.


"With 44 different models in the mid-size car segment, this program gave us an extraordinary opportunity to establish an identity in a high risk, high reward manner to help introduce an all-new Pontiac with an all-new name," said Mark-Hans Richer, Pontiac marketing director. "It provided a rare chance to fully integrate advertising, product placement, promotion and public relations activities into a single event that created instant, high impact buzz across America."

The Oprah Winfrey Show giveaway also sparked huge web traffic increases and consumer interest, global media coverage, and even became a pop culture phenomenon that fueled late night television discussions and political cartoons. As a result, Oprah Winfrey and Pontiac G6 became top search items on Yahoo and Google and within two weeks, Pontiac achieved 87 percent adult G6 awareness, the highest Google.com click-thru rate ever at 17 percent and a 600 percent increase in traffic to Pontiac.com.

Baltimore plans black tourism ad campaign around opening of museum

By Chris Kaltenbach
Baltimore Sun
(June 13, 2005) City tourism officials are using this month's scheduled opening of a museum spotlighting black history and culture to push Baltimore as a destination of choice for African-American tourists.

With an eye on the planned opening June 25 of the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture, tourism officials increased their spending on advertising in predominantly black media by more than 66 percent over last year, to $224,900 from $134,800, said Nancy Hinds, spokeswoman for the Baltimore Area Convention and Visitors Association. Most of the money, $176,400, will be spent on radio advertising.

In addition, BACVA set aside $30,000 for a "familiarization tour" centering on the museum's opening weekend. The group expects to bring in 20 to 30 meeting planners, group-tour operators and travel media representatives from throughout the country. "The opening provides an opportunity to really take advantage and really position Baltimore well in this market," Hinds said.

Radio time has been purchased on three stations in Washington and two in Philadelphia. Print ads have appeared in The Philadelphia Tribune and Washington editions of The Afro American. Three Web sites - BET.com, SoulOfAmerica.com and AOL.com - also will feature ads geared toward the museum.

The newspaper ads, featuring pictures of Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass, promote the museum opening and the annual African-American Heritage Festival, set for that same weekend at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Exhorting the city's black heritage, the ads promise "your trip can also be a journey of inspiration and pride."

Minority travel represents a $9 billion-a-year market nationwide, Hinds said. Plans are to promote the Lewis Museum, which will be the second largest African-American history museum in the country (after Detroit's Museum of African American History), alongside such established city attractions as the Great Blacks in Wax Museum and the many sites connected to Douglass.

"We know the opening of this museum will have an impact on Baltimore," Hinds said.

Click here to read entire Baltimore Sun story

McDonald's targets black women with digital campaign from Burrell and ImagineThat

By Pamela Parker
Click Z Network

(June 6, 2005) McDonald's is promoting its new Fruit & Walnut Salad by enticing African-American women to engage with rich media ad units.

The six-week campaign was designed by digital marketing agency ImagineThat in conjunction with McDonald's multicultural marketing agency, Burrell, a unit of Publicis. Spend wasn't disclosed.

"What we realized when we were doing the research was that women were active gamers," said Derek Bonney, senior VP of ImagineThat. "Each one of those units was built with a game inside of it. We realized women weren't into the shoot-'em-up, kill-'em-type games. They were more into the mind teasers that they could relax and share with friends."

The effort employs United Virtualities' Ooqa-Ooqa branded-browser takeover, as well as expandable ads and interstitial units from Eyeblaster. Standard Flash banners will also appear as part of the campaign. The media buy includes BET.com, BlackPlanet.com, AOL BlackVoices, and Vibe Online.

The Ooqa-Ooqa ad, which will run exclusively on BET.com, is triggered whenever an Internet Explorer user enters a content category ImagineThat found to be popular with women -- books, health, or beauty. When the browser launches, its usual navigation is replaced by a McDonald's themed navigation, which includes a picture of the Fruit & Walnut Salad and a button that says "play game." The themed browser remains until either the user turns it off or leaves the channel.

"The goal was to find a unique way to bring the brand in front of the users," said Bonney. "To date, we're very happy with the results as far as people keeping it active in their browsers and continuing to surf through the channels."

Both the expandable creative and the interstitial unit feature games as well. The expandable ad begins as a 160 x 600 unit that asks viewers "What is Fruit Buzz?" and invites them to play a word scramble game to discover the answer. Once the user comes up with the answer, a picture and description of the salad appear. The creative also features a drawing of an African-American woman.

The interstitial, or "commercial break" format, features a game that lets the viewer manipulate a bowl with her mouse and catch pieces of fruit as they fall from the top of the ad unit.

"With this campaign in particular we weren't particularly interested in driving traffic to the landing page," said Bonney. "It was more about generating awareness and brand exposure."

The online campaign is running in conjunction with TV and print creative targeted to the same African-American audience.

Anderson Communications launches Black Health NOW! with radio broadcasts

(June 3, 2005) Anderson Communications, creator of the Health Information Network, has launched Black Health NOW! as a part of the second phase of its national health communications initiative. Launched in June 2004, The Health Information Network is a multi-faceted, multi-media program designed to promote awareness and effect positive change in the health of the African American community.  “We want to make a difference in the health status of African Americans by providing them with vital information that will help them be more informed consumers and reduce the incidences of diseases in our community,” said Al Anderson (above), chairman and founder of Anderson Communications.
 
Black Health NOW! includes a daily one-minute radio feature that is currently being carried on 90+ radio stations across the country. Also included in the program are weekly columns on health that will be seen in selected black newspapers and magazines. The company has also launched a website to support the program, www.blackhealthnow.com. Future plans call for a special outreach to children, television, healthy living events and seminars.   

“Many health outreach programs to the black community have failed to reach and positively impact our citizens because they have depended on public service announcements as the mechanism to get the message out to African Americans,” said Anderson. “Our program, due to the great cooperation we have received from black radio stations and black newspapers across the country, is being carried every day at times when blacks are listening to the radio and printed in newspapers distributed in our neighborhoods.”
  
Alexis Comer Byrd will serve as the program host for Black Health NOW! radio broadcasts. Ms. Byrd, a native of Indiana, has over ten years of broadcasting experience in news reporting and production, public affairs and news oriented live call-in programs.

African American Medical Network begins national roll-out with select markets

(June 1, 2005) AFMN, Inc. announced that its subsidiary, African American Medical Network, the placed-based television network which produces and distributes advertiser-supported patient education programming, began installing TV/DVD viewing systems in doctors' offices in several major metropolitan areas this month.

The installation of the TV/DVD viewing systems will occur in several hundred subscribing doctors' offices across more than fifteen markets including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, Baltimore, Detroit, and Atlanta. These installations are the first wave of equipment and programming distribution prior to the full national roll-out to more than 3,000 offices which is expected in July, 2005.

According to Charles Richardson, president of the Los Angeles-based AAMN, "Our equipment is free to subscribing doctors who we've been signing up over the past several months. We know from their calls that they're eagerly awaiting our equipment and programming. But to eliminate any unforeseen challenges, we have decided to start out with this 'soft launch' in order to fine-tune our installation process and work out any kinks in our delivery system."

AFMN's primary goal is to provide educational programming about medical and health issues related to the needs of African American patients. Distributed monthly to doctors' offices, each updated DVD video magazine is geared to create awareness about key diseases and the steps needed to preserve and improve the quality of life. Hosted and voiced by veteran actor Ernie Hudson, programming consists of fast-paced segments four to seven minutes long that cover pertinent healthcare topics. African American Medical's business model is funded, in part, by commercial advertisers whose ads are reviewed and approved by its Medical Advisory Board.

Lincoln and New Edition join forces to enhance brand's appeal in urban markets

(May 31, 2005) Ford Motor Company's Lincoln Brand and R&B supergroup New Edition have announced a unique marketing collaboration tied to the 30-city "2005 New Edition Concert Tour." The two iconic brands, with strong, celebrated pasts are reinvigorating their images among urban consumers with Lincoln's launch of new vehicles -- like the all-new 2006 Lincoln Mark LT -- and New Edition's recent album One Love.

The multi-fold co-branded partnership involves integration of the Lincoln Brand in the 30 cities of the concert tour. Lincoln will have a featured role in the opening act of the concert with a two-minute theatrical video -- that features Lincoln vehicles -- serving as lead-in for New Edition's on-stage performance. The video portrays the five members of New Edition admiring the Lincoln vehicles. They are so fascinated by the vehicles that they decide to experience the Lincoln ride by taking one each for themselves.

"The Lincoln and New Edition partnership represents a merging of two renowned and timeless brands," says Al Giombetti, president of Lincoln Mercury. He adds, "The collaboration is part of a larger targeted marketing effort that re-positions the Lincoln brand within the urban consumer market space."

Adds New Edition's Michael Bivins, "We are excited about the alliance with Lincoln. Both New Edition and Lincoln represent similar things -- style, class and sophistication. We both are embarking on a new and exciting phase in an already successful history, yet we continue to remain true to our core values."

Lincoln integration will also include brand presence on the official tour buses and Lincoln vehicles will transport New Edition members within the local markets along tour stops.

Hilton Hotels creates multicultural initiative with sales posts, advisory board

(May 17, 2005) As part of its continued commitment to formalizing its diversity practices company-wide, Hilton Hotels Corporation has created two new director of sales positions and a Multicultural Advisory Board.

The director of sales positions are responsible for creating initiatives to increase the market share in the African American and Hispanic markets. Carnita Chopin (above) has been named the director of multicultural sales for the African American market, and Elvida Aparicio Rogers has been named director of multicultural sales for the Hispanic market.

"The creation of these dedicated multicultural sales positions will greatly enhance our ability to effectively target our outreach to these important markets," said Larry Luteran, vice president of Group Sales and Industry Relations. "We believe Carnita Chopin and Elvida Rogers have the insight and tenacity required to increase our brand awareness and broaden our reach into markets that are critically important to the Hilton Family of Hotels."

The Multicultural Advisory Board will recommend business standards and practices and guide its outreach to multicultural markets. The Multicultural Advisory Board is comprised of a diverse representation of industry leaders with proven success in the hospitality industry and reaching diverse markets. The board met for the first time in February at the Hilton New York in conjunction with the inaugural Hilton Diversity Review, during which media, analysts and key business partners were presented with an overview of Hilton's diversity practices in all areas of the company. The board will convene annually.

"Hilton Hotels Corporation has shown a historic commitment to diversity, and this Multicultural Advisory Board will help us convey that commitment to multicultural audiences," said William Holland, vice president, Workforce Planning & Analysis. "The incredible level of expertise represented on this board will help us shape our diversity outreach so we can attract a broader and more diverse consumer base into the Hilton family."

Among the 20 members of the Multicultural Advisory Board currently are:

 
 
– Ana Aponte-Curtis - Director of Events Planning, NAACP
 
 – Barbara Collins - Director of Meetings and Travel, National Urban League, Inc.
 
– Sylvia Cyrus-Albritton - Executive Director, The Association for the Study of African American Life and History, Inc.
 
– John Saunders III, CAE - Executive Director of the National Forum for Black Public Administrators


UrbanWorld Wireless has aggressive growth plans for the year

(April 25, 2005) Fox Films, Rocafella and FUBU have all launched successful mobile marketing campaigns on UrbanWorld Wireless' network. Now the company is announcing plans to be more aggressive in promoting itself as the platform of choice for cutting edge companies.

This year UWW is expanding aggressively in both national and international markets and currently distributes its content with over 23 different wireless carriers and aggregators worldwide.  In a related strategic move, UWW has launched a rich web site, www.urbanworldwireless.co.uk, to serve its consumers living in the UK, Jamaica, Canada and beyond.

"We position ourselves as an exclusive provider, offering original, cutting-edge material valued by consumers.  We always aim to please," says CEO of UrbanWorld Wireless, Mike Johns. "Our mobile marketing division as well as our ringtone and other mobile content are both tracking towards records numbers.  We remain true to our roots, even as the markets for our products and services are now reaching far beyond the streets from which we came."

Fox Films recently deployed wireless campaigns via UWW for "Johnson's Family Vacation" and "Redemption" starring Oscar winner Jamie Foxx.  Rocafella was soon to follow with a UWW campaign for Jay-Z's "Fade To Black" which helped generate mass appeal. New Line Cinema also used UWW as the wireless tool to generate awareness about the film, "King's Ransom," which opened in theatres last week.

Beyond music and film, UWW is launching major mobile marketing initiatives in the beverage and fashion categories.  The company  will help market a new liquor, Seraphin Cognac XO and clothing line Ether via daily tag lines in its Newz alerts which will inform consumers of these products.

Lincoln truck promotion matches Magic Johnson with events and the Internet

(April 21, 2005) Ford Motor Company's Lincoln brand has teamed up with NBA legend Earvin "Magic" Johnson for a series of signature events that highlight the newest member of its family, the all-new 2006 Mark LT truck. The first of these luxury immersions took place last night at Atlanta hotspot, Compound.

"Successful marketing has always been centered on a company's ability to accurately reflect the desires of the consumer," says Al Giombetti, president of Lincoln Mercury.  "Growing success will come from our unique understanding of how to connect with consumers lifestyles -- from the choices in clothes they wear, music they listen to, movies they watch to cars they drive."

Recognizing the increasing demand for personalization, Lincoln has created the "Step Into Unexpected Luxury" events to highlight the range in auto customization options amidst an environment that showcases the essence of true luxury. Custom-built Lincoln Mark LTs will be featured.

Joining Lincoln in defining this luxury experience is leading urban lifestyle franchise DUB Magazine, widely known as  the leading voice of urban auto aficionados.

A special element to the program will be an auction of a customized DUB edition Magic Lincoln Mark LT with a bedcover autographed by A-list celebrities attending the events. The auction will take place on-line in July 2005 with proceeds to benefit the Magic Johnson Foundation. The "Step into Unexpected Luxury" events will also be staged in Los Angeles May 4, Washington DC June 1 and Miami June 15.

Lincoln and basketball legend and businessman Earvin "Magic" Johnson have enjoyed a successful partnership since 2003. Johnson has been featured in advertising developed through the carmaker's ad agency UniWorld Group, and in promotions between Lincoln Mercury and Magic Johnson's wide ranging business and community programs. 

In mid-2005, Lincoln and Magic will launch a unique digital campaign featuring a Website with cars, basketball tips, and higher education opportunities.

Budget signs as sponsor of the Tom Joyner Morning Show 'Sky Shows'

(April 15, 2005) Budget Rent A Car System, Inc. today announced its sponsorship of the Tom Joyner Morning Show "Sky Shows," a series of live remote broadcasts of the nation's #1 syndicated urban morning show.  The shows are free to the public and regularly feature a national recording artist or group and the cast and crew of the Morning Show.

Through the end of the year, Budget will offer Tom Joyner Morning Show listeners a discount on weekly and weekend rates while raising money for Historical Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).  For every completed rental made in connection with the Tom Joyner Sky Show discount promotion, Budget will donate $1.00 to the Tom Joyner Foundation, which helps students continue their education by providing money directly to HBCUs.

Budget will hold a raffle at each of the 20 Sky Shows scheduled this year in cities such as Richmond, Nashville, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Orlando and Las Vegas, and one lucky attendee from each venue will receive a Budget Travel Giveaway.  The prize, valued at $500.00, includes a weekly car rental from Budget and an American Express gift cheque.

"Budget recognizes the growth and buying power of the African American consumer and we are working hard to earn their loyalty," stated Scott Deaver, executive vice president of marketing for Cendant Car Rental Group, parent of Budget.  "Through our special relationship with Tom Joyner, we are now able to offer his loyal listener base a great value while providing financial support to the HBCUs that are responsible for educating generations of African Americans."

"This is great news for students attending HBCUs," said Joyner.  Joyner's radio show reaches some 8 million listeners in 115 markets. "The partnership will help fulfill our sole mission of keeping students in school at HBCUs."


African American Medical Network to be acquired by PetCARE TV

(April 8, 2005) PetCARE Television Network, Inc. announced today that it entered into a non-binding Memorandum of Terms to acquire African American Medical Network, Inc. ("African American Medical"), a wholly-owned subsidiary of AFMN, Inc. . African American Medical, an advertiser-supported, place-based media company provides educational programming for the waiting rooms of doctors who serve the African American population.

Definitive agreements are being drafted, and coincident with closing, PetCARE TV plans to change its name to Medical Media Networks, Inc. ("Medical Media Networks"). Medical Media Networks will form a new wholly-owned subsidiary and will also serve as the parent company for African American Medical.

Philip M. Cohen, the current President and CEO of PetCARE TV. Mr. Cohen will hold the same title with the new firm, and also serve as the producer/director of the educational programming for both networks. Since 1984, after serving as the Director of Special Markets with Twentieth Century Fox, Mr. Cohen has produced educational programming direct to video and founded, developed, or operated many place-based media networks.

Charles V. Richardson will continue to serve as President of African American Medical. Mr. Richardson previously served as Director of Healthcare Marketing with Footsteps, LLC, a marketing and advertising agency specializing in culturally relevant, customized communications targeting the multicultural marketplace. Footsteps, LLC is the multicultural communications company affiliated with Omnicom Group, Inc., one of the world's largest communications companies that manages a portfolio of global market leaders in the disciplines of advertising, marketing services, specialty communications, interactive/digital media, and media buying services.

Previously, Mr. Richardson was President of TRIAD/TRG, Inc., a marketing and advertising communications company specializing in the African American market providing market research, public relations, sales promotion, and strategic planning to Fortune 1000 companies, the healthcare industry, and government agencies. He is a marketing and communications expert who has specialized in the urban consumer market for more than 25 years.

African American Medical plans to provide educational programming to millions of African American patients through installation of viewing systems in doctor's offices serving the African American population. Programming for both networks is funded, in part, by commercial advertisers that are reviewed and approved by advisory boards for each network.

Medical Media Networks plans to launch similar place-based media networks in the areas of pediatrics, obstetrics/gynecology, and dermatology with programming specific to each specialty.


Bernie Mac's 'Guess Who' is year's fifth black top opening week movie

By Greg Hernandez
L.A. Daily News
(March 28, 2005) I
t was considered something of a box office upset when "Guess Who," a comedy about an interracial romance starring Bernie Mac and Ashton Kutcher, trounced Sandra Bullock's sequel to "Miss Congeniality" to take first place over the Easter weekend.

But it's less of a surprise when you consider that "Guess," which had a $20 million opening, is the fifth 2005 movie starring an African-American to open at the top spot.

It follows fellow box office champs "Diary of a Mad Black Woman," the Will Smith comedy "Hitch," the basketball drama "Coach Carter" with Samuel L. Jackson, and Ice Cube's "Are We There Yet?"

"I think we're talking about this because it's so unusual and unprecedented and exciting," said box office analyst Paul Dergarabedian, president of Exhibitor Relations Co. "It just says that all these No. 1 films have struck a chord with audiences, and, more than anything, it has to do with the universal appeal of most of these movies."

MGM will attempt to keep the momentum going Wednesday when it opens "Beauty Shop," a comedy starring Queen Latifah with a largely black cast. The movie is a spinoff of sorts of the studio's popular "Barbershop" film and its sequel.

"I think there's more savvy on the part of Hollywood in terms of casting and in terms of developing more authentic African-American roles," said Howard Buford, chief executive officer of Prime Access Inc. a multicultural advertising agency based in New York City. "African-Americans, besides being a strong movie-going market, have a very strong desire to see themselves and their lives reflected on screen."

Three of the films -- "Hitch," "Guess" and "Are We There Yet?" -- were released by Sony Pictures Entertainment. The studio pointed out that 55 percent of the opening weekend audience for "Guess" was non-Caucasian but also stressed the overall appeal of the films.

"I think what these movies that we released have in common is that they are three broad comedies with stars in them, whether it be Ice Cube, Will Smith or Bernie Mac and Ashton Kutcher, which is an incredible pairing," said Rory Bruer, Sony's president of distribution. "It sort of transcends color with very accessible stories that audiences love."

MGM is looking for the same broad audience for "Beauty Shop," which has a cast dominated by black performers but also features Alicia Silverstone, Kevin Bacon, Mena Suvari and Andie McDowell.

"Obviously, (Queen) Latifah is the lead of our picture, but it appeals not only to African-Americans but to women of all races and ages," said Eric Lomis, MGM's president of domestic distribution. "And when you ask the guys, they all like it. That's why we're opening it on a Wednesday, to give word of mouth time to percolate."

While the studios seek to release movies with widespread appeal, Buford said, the critical key to the success of many of these films lies in appealing to black audiences first and foremost.

"The African-American population is younger overall, and you tend to have larger families, so, per household, there tend to be more people of that prime moviegoing age of up to 25," he said. "They are very strong trendsetters among overall American culture, so these movies also tend to pull in white youth because that culture is their youth culture."

But the movies still have to be generally good to win the seal of approval, as evidenced by last fall's colossal bomb "Soul Plane," a low-brow comedy loathed by critics and ignored by audiences. Even this week's box office king, Bernie Mac, failed to draw a crowd in October to his Disney baseball comedy, "Mr. 3000."

"You still have to have great marketing, you have to have a good cast, and get a lot of press coverage," Dergarabedian said. "All the things that make movies successful apply to these movies, and they attained this success by all these channels. It still comes down to the work. If they had been horribly marketed, terribly acted and had no buzz, they would have failed."

The critical and commercial success of "Ray," which won the Best Actor Academy Award for Jamie Foxx, further helps the chances for blacks to land leading roles in films ranging from comedy to drama to musicals, said actress Anne-Marie Johnson, national chairwoman of the Screen Actors Guild's Ethnic Employment Opportunity Committee.

"Many of us black performers have been in the business for a while and never really believed the statement that African-Americans could not do well globally," said Johnson, whose next film, "The L.A. Riots," will premiere next month at the Tribeca Film Festival.

"I think we've proven that was definitely a myth, generally. Our argument has been that a good story will play well, regardless of race, and I think that's been proven, especially with the current films."

 
 


 11th Annual Edition Available

'Buying Power' report reveals surge by black households for consumer electronics

Despite tighter economic times, African-American households are significantly increasing their expenditures on consumer electronics for the home, according to the newest edition of The Buying Power of Black America report. In many categories such as video games, televisions, CD players, cable TV service and sound equipment, black households are spending more on average than their white counterparts.

According to the 103-page report, black households had $656 billion in earned income in 2003, an increase of 3.9% over the $631 earned in 2002.

Read more and see the latest expenditure figures for black consumers


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