Digital Investment Heats Up in Many Areas -- With One Exception

Multicultural Shops Need to Step Up

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Carol Watson Carol Watson
The recent move by Radio One to invest $30 million in Interactive One is great news for multicultural marketing companies looking to step up their online efforts and fill the demand for metrics that show and prove response from multicultural consumers. Major investments in digital media and a diversified digital talent pool will fuel the evolution in the advertising space in both the general and multicultural markets.

The new division, Interactive One of Radio One, was recently acquired the Community Connect -- the largest urban social-networking site, which includes, and It also established an ad-buying network deal that includes the largest urban news and entertainment site, The move by Radio One is an aggressive response to the needs of advertisers by investing in some of the top websites reaching the largest share of African Americans. It provides desperately needed opportunities to efficiently reach this audience. has also recommitted resources to continue to service and broaden its relationship with the African American women's market. The company is relaunching its website and partnering with Warner Brothers to broaden its reach and appeal.

On the talent side, traditional agencies, client marketers and media firms have stepped up their hunt for digital talent and are always on the lookout for black and Hispanic interactive talent who are even harder to find. The requests for diverse candidates in the growing interactive departments continues to build as resources are transferred from traditional account, marketing and creative roles to support client demands for more interactive work.

The big news this week is that Torrence Boone, former president of Digitas in Boston and one of the top ranking blacks in advertising (definitely in the digital space) was named chief executive of the global agency WPP is building from the ground up to service client Dell. The agency is expected to have a staff of 1,000 globally.

Another name blazing the mobile trail is Larry Harris formerly head of the interactive division at DraftFCB. Larry heads up Ansible Mobile (an IPG agency) providing innovative mobile marketing capabilities globally for the top marketers. Multicultural consumers over-deliver on usage of their mobile devices and smart marketers are testing and building models to capture this market.

With all the talk about the growth in digital, the one area that has been a bit too quiet is the multicultural ad-agency side. Marketers are asking which major multicultural agencies are blazing a trail on the digital side and there are no names consistently leading this area that get any buzz. Clients need a way to quantify and build the analytics that are necessary to present the case for more resources. As the media brands strategically evolve and the talent resources begin to rise, the need for agency partners that can also step in will thrive. Will it be the veterans that evolve and innovate or the next generation of multicultural agency digital talent creating much needed services?
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