Sean “Diddy” Combs is the latest Black media executive to call on Madison Avenue to allocate more of its ad dollars to Black-owned media.
Combs’ letter, which was posted to the website for his cable network Revolt, addresses the full-page newspaper ad a group of leaders of Black-owned media companies took out last week against General Motors CEO Mary Barra, claiming she refused multiple requests to meet with Black-owned media.
“When confronted by the leaders of several Black-owned media companies, General Motors (GM) listed my network, REVOLT, as an example of the Black-owned media it supports. While REVOLT does receive advertising revenue from GM, our relationship is not an example of success. Instead, REVOLT, just like other Black-owned media companies, fights for crumbs while GM makes billions of dollars every year from the Black community,” Combs wrote. He goes on to say, “Out of the roughly $3 billion General Motors spent on advertising, we estimate only $10 million was invested in Black-owned media.”
The ads resulted in GM setting up multiple meetings with the group and pledging to allocate 4% of its U.S. advertising spend on Black-owned media companies next year, and 8% by 2025.
A GM spokesman said the auto maker spends "significantly" less than the $3 billion Combs' references in his letter, but declined to specify the figure.
Combs is echoing the sentiment of other leaders including Byron Allen and Ice Cube, demanding that “Corporate America reinvest an equitable percentage of what you take from our community back into our community.”
To this end, Combs is requesting If the Black community represents 15% of a brand’s revenue, Black-owned media should receive at least 15% of the advertising spend.
“The same way you understand the power of our dollars, we understand our power to take them away from any corporation that doesn’t give us the economic inclusion we deserve. We are prepared to weaponize our dollars,” Combs writes.
Allen and other leaders are calling on brands to invest a minimum of 2% of their ad budgets in Black-owned media.
At the end of 2020, Droga5 was hired to handle creative for Combs' business empire.