MULTICULTURAL: GROWING PAINS TEEM IN FORGING LINKS: ASIAN, AFRICAN-AMERICAN AGENCY EXECS AIM FOR OWN AD GROUPS

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Despite the prevalence of specialty shops serving African-American and Asian-American segments, so far there are no professional organizations to put them on a par with the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies.

Other types of marketing affiliations are available to agency and applicable marketing executives. Nonetheless, African-American and Asian-American agency principals long for and expect strictly advertising organizations to be created.

According to Eliot Kang, president, Kang & Lee Advertising, New York, the top 13 Asian-American ad agencies, although not affiliated in a formal organization, talk to each other in teleconferences and are trying to form a group.

SHOULD DO A LOT

"Once this association is organized it should do a lot in terms of [developing and providing] research and data," says Mr. Kang. "I think it's very close. We have to be together to move the needle. By next Lunar New Year we will get together and form a real organization."

Within the African-American marketing community, no professional group has been formed.

There are, however, affiliations among black TV producers, broadcaster and newspaper publishers, according to Don Coleman, president-CEO of the agency in Southfield, Mich., bearing his name.

A ways to go

"There's one being discussed [for advertising agencies] right now. It's in its early stages. . . We have a way to go in that regard," says Mr. Coleman.

As a result of the upsurge in interest in multicultural marketing, Direct Marketing Association's Councils & Segment Services unit includes organizations for its members.

Directo Council for Hispanic Marketing was formed as a group in 1992; today there are more than 130 members.

African-American Marketing Council began as a group of 35 in 1995, but cultivated more than 50 memberships and this year became a council. Asian-American Marketing Group has now 35 members.

Combined effort

The three segments will combine with DMA's International Council to present the organization's first Emerging Markets Week in February.

The event will focus on direct marketing strategies and opportunities with regard to each segment.

Another group, Asian-American Advertising & Public Relations Alliance of New York, was created four years ago as an educational organization for its 200 members.

"Our members come from general marketing.*We know about the Four As. But, that is only education within the agency," says Julian Reidler, VP-marketing for

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