A group of 20 brands that include General Mills, L’Oreal USA, Nestle, Target, Tyson Foods, DoorDash, Mars and WW have pledged to spend at least 2% of their annual media budgets in Black-owned media through GroupM’s media and inclusion initiatives, according to the agency.
The pledge was made during negotiations with media networks in this year’s upfronts, when media companies look to secure a bulk of their ad commitments for the new fall season. The consortium of clients also includes AARP, Adidas, Citizens, Danone, Ferrara, MGA Entertainment, Ragu-owner Mizkan America, No7 Beauty Company, Pernod Ricard and Pharmavite, which makes Nature Made vitamins and Ring.
The firm 2% commitment comes as agencies and their clients are being called upon by Black media owners to invest more of their ad spend in these often overlooked channels. GroupM is one of several agencies that over the past few months have outlined plans for asking clients to commit more of their ad dollars to minority-owned media companies.
The group of clients also includes Target, which plans to commit 5% of its budget each year with Black-owned media companies beginning in 2022, while also increasing its engagement with Black content creators, Maurice Cooper, senior VP, marketing, Target, said in a statement. “At Target, we’re committed to promoting inclusivity across our business, from the brands we carry and stories that we tell to how we connect with our guests…These investments will help our partners grow, further compete and extend their reach, helping ensure that all guests, everywhere, feel even more welcome at Target,” he said.
The other part of GroupM’s so-called new Media Inclusion Initiative is a “diverse voices accelerator,” which serves as a positive-impact fund to support diverse and Black creators, writers, producers, directors, talent and studios. The platform will look to support Black people in the development, funding, distribution and marketing of content for GroupM’s clients. The “diverse voices accelerator” will initially focus on Black-owned initiatives and companies and will subsequently expand its reach
“At Danone, the marketing for our delicious foods and beverages needs to reflect the diversity of our consumers and society – and reach those consumers meaningfully,” Terrance Irizarry, head of inclusive diversity for Danone North America, said in a statement. “Evaluating our media investments to ensure they are spent with Black-owned media companies is an important step in combating racial inequality and creating new economic opportunities for diverse communities. This is part of our larger journey and our work toward enhancing the overall diversity in our content, and our partnerships with diverse suppliers in the industry.”
Other brands outside of GroupM's client roster have also made public commitments to Black and minority-owned media in recent weeks. General Motors in April promised to increase advertising spending on Black-owned media to 4% by 2022 and 8% by 2025—up from 2% in 2021. The commitment came after a public pressure campaign led by several Black media owners.
McDonald's promised to more than double its U.S. investment in diverse-owned media companies, production shops and content creators by 2024. Over the next four years, it said it will increase its U.S. advertising spending with platforms owned by Black, Hispanic, Asian American, female and LGBTQ people from 4% to 10%. The company's announcement last month came just hours before media mogul Byron Allen said he was suing the fast-food chain for $10 billion for racial discrimination.
IPG Mediabrands announced it is committing to invest a minimum of 5% in Black-owned media across all of its clients in aggregate by 2023. Dentsu and Horizon also announced efforts around shifting clients' dollars into minority-owned media, but stopped short of making a percentage commitment.