Advertising’s blind spot

It has been 14 years since I pointed out in an Advertising Age article that only one percent of advertising was spent with black-owned media.
And 13 years since my article in AdWeek’s Technology Marketing noted that computer manufacturers were completely ignoring black consumers with their marketing dollars.
Although the African-American consumer market has doubled since 1998, there has been a continued exclusion of black media from advertising spending. Back then, we were contrasted with large established mainstream publications.
Since then, we’ve watched online publications spring up overnight and be bombarded with advertising right off the bat, while established black media and emerging new sources still hear the same old excuses.
Beginning April 20, we begin a nationwide State of Black Business Forum tour in Atlanta, moving to 12 cities before we end in Denver in June.
One of the issues we’ll explore is why national advertisers and local retailers continue to exclude black media from advertising.
This disparity has the effect of denying African-Americans their First Amendment rights to self-expression. The megaphone that the enemies of black progress trumpet can sometimes overwhelm African-American voices to the extent that some may feel we don’t have a voice.
In extreme cases, advertising agencies actually use the prospect of possible advertising to dictate content to black media, a practice which smacks of restraint of trade.
During the eighth annual National Black Business Month, we will encourage black consumers to take careful notice of the advertisers who support the media which serves their community.
It is long past time to give patronage to companies which do not respect the black community.

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