Category Archives: AFRICAN AMERICAN

What’s Black/Hispanic About It?

Are you talking to me?

Is it necessary to advertise to different demographics?  Should advertisers make one commercial for the general market, one for the African American market and even one still for the Hispanic, Asian and other markets?  If there wasn’t such a great need for multicultural marketing, would I would be out of the job?

Is it enough to just put black or hispanic talent in an advertisement and call it multicultural?  Is it a good idea either to have a Mexican talent voiceover a product targeted towards Cuban audience?  If you don’t see the problem with this, then you’ve probably have been missing the mark.

It amazes me that so many brands want the consumer to spend money with them, but are not willing to invest in their community.  For so long it was advertisers talking at consumers.  They would put what they thought was a good representation of a particular culture in commercials, but honestly it’s just not enough!

In order to reach your target market, you must engage them.  What are their likes and dislikes?  How is your message infused with their culture?  Most importantly, are you listening to them?

People don’t want to be talked at, they want to be communicated to, respected and included.  Don’t you?




Over the course of two weeks, Paula Deen has gone from Domestic Queen to Dropped Diva.  Food Network, Walmart, Smithfield and Target are a few included companies in the dozen that have severed ties with Deen and her product lines.  These dismals stem from a  lawsuit from a former employee, citing racial and sexual discrimination.  Deen has admitted to using the “N” word and her reaction to the backlash created a media storm and PR nightmare.

Thoughts around the office:

“Social judgment aside, Paula Deen worked herself into a major PR crisis that only experts could work her out of.”

“Only if she were to grab the bull by the horns and fess up in public, showing true compunction and behavior change would public opinion give her a chance at redemption.”
“I don’t think her brand has really been hurt. She’s losing endorsements because her endorsers don’t want to be associated with this negative situation. Her core supporters will still support her. No love will be lost there.

“Her key supporters think and act exactly as she does. From what I know of this whole incident, my concern is no whether or not she’s racist or should endorse certain products, more about the level of respect, or lack thereof, that she has shown in her workplace. No one should be subject to a hostile work environment.”
“I feel she should be judged on how she has carried herself in the past years,  when we have all become more sensitive to the meaning and sting of the word and less accepting of it’s use by anyone, should count not what she did umpteenth years ago especially since she has apologized.”

“I find myself not having warm and fuzzy feelings for the companies who have dropped her.  They don’t have to condone the use of the word and maybe some kind of action was necessary but could they have not reviewed the situation, made a suspension then come back with a decision when some time has passed.”

“I do think her brand is redeemable….it might not be as strong as it once was, but I think it will come back.”
“I say yes.  I think her reputation and her brand are definitely redeemable.  It won’t happen overnight and it will take quite a bit of work.  She will have to prove to the AA community that she is truly remorseful and that she has been enlightened as to how hurtful that word can be to others.”

“I think Paula’s downfall was the fact that she used the phase “of course” when referring to the use of the “N” word.  That told us that she felt it was ok and a pretty common occurrence in the parts where she’s from.  I think that we can all be educated as to how our actions affect others and how to become more sensitive to other’s feelings and experiences.”
“On top of everything else, how can we say that we’re so offended when a white person uses the “N” word when we don’t get all bent out of shape when we hear other black persons using the word as if it was going out of style or something?”

At the end of the day it’s a word.  A word that we have allowed others to define and label us with.  It’s a word people.  If you take the power away from it, take the power out of it, then what……..”

Do you think Paula’s reputation is reDEENable?

Can I Touch Your Hair?

Can I Touch Your Hair

People are allowed the chance in NY to touch AA women’s hair

Almost every woman of color I know has been asked this question at least once in their lives. It’s always a question that brings discomfort, and often, a side eye…..

Well this past weekend, the founders of gave spectators in NYC the opportunity to end their curiosity. During a two-hour exhibit on Thursday, June 6th, spectators in Union Square were able to touch live women’s heads, with a variety of hair ranging from straightened and sleek, coarse and kinky, to locs. The exhibit also took place during another two-hour span on June 8.

Not only is this an excellent tactic to start dialogue around this culturally, somewhat taboo fascination with ethnic hair, but it has also served as an experiential marketing strategy to build exposure for the Un’Ruly blog. As a result of the exhibit, the blog has been featured on websites for The Huffington Post, AOL, Jezebel, Refinery29 and more.

Want to learn more about the exhibit? Check out this link for more info: ‘You Can Touch My Hair’ Exhibit

What do you think Atlanta? Would you attend or participate in this exhibit if it were here?

Series(al) Killer

series(al) killer

If you haven’t heard by now, PepsiCo has has killed the Mountain Dew commercials surrounding a talking goat that has beaten up a woman and was in a police lineup.  The commercials have been cited as stereotyping Black males, racist and sexist.  Tyler, the Creator, a 22-year-old rapper/producer (who himself is African-American) created the campaign, which included some of his music group members and friends.  He has defended the commercials, denying any racism and claiming it was just supposed to be funny.  According to Tyler, his friends were “basically wearing their own clothes”.

I shared the commercial around the office and here are some of the responses:

1)  “Whoa… obviously they need a multicultural agency to help keep them from making stupid mistakes like that.  Often clients go out looking for what they think are “more creative, cutting edge” ways of reaching the young, millennial target through music talent, without truly understanding the nuances of the audience and not having the checks and balances in place that keep them from making this kind of grievous marketing error.

Maybe not overtly RACIST, but should have taken into account that there are 4 black guys in a police line up looking stereotypically criminal.  I understand this is a group but needed to include somehow a white guy(s).  Also suggests the idea of a white female being beat up by a black guy (although actually beat up by the  goat).  Just too far…”

2) “Call me insensitive but I didn’t see the commercial as racist. I’m not saying the spot deserves an ADDY but racism—no ma’am, no sir. I think the race card is being overused—can we play another card for subpar spots that contain black people? Advertising wouldn’t be advertising without criticism. I hope the PepsiCo brand doesn’t go into “super safe” mode and deliver creative that blends in with the rest of the ad noise.”

3) “Anybody think about the Doritos goat that beat up its owner for Doritos?  Yup, this is called “Biting,” pun intended.

The 4 Black males are all members of the same musical group as the “Creative” person who developed it for Mountain Dew, Tyler the Creator. Racist? That’s all about perception. Accidental racism almost always is. About perception, or lack thereof. If you don’t know the group, it looks really bad. If you know the group, it just looks like a watered down, weird version of their always-overtly-racy-purposely-offensive content.

If you think this is bad, don’t listen to eight bars of even ONE song.

My question, is why would Mountain Dew even put this in the market? They had to have known it would step on some toes. This was a marketing coup, IMHO.”

4)  “I find this commercial social irresponsible.  I understand that many people may know Tyler, the Creator and that he pushes the envelope, but I have no clue who he is.  The campaign is in bad taste and makes light serious situations.  Just reading Tyler’s Twitter was enough to make me cringe, I am not sure how Mountain Dew or PepsiCo thought it was in good taste to have this represent their brand.  What was the approval process?  Was a focus group used or did the company just throw the commercial online to test the waters?  Taking full responsibility is not enough after the fact.  Companies need to really do their due diligence before pushing a campaign such as this.  To me, this shows ignorance, arrogance and bad taste, all in the name of ‘creativity’.”

You’ve heard from us.  Now we want to hear from you.  What are your thoughts around Mountain Dew’s campaign?

I Am Not Spanish!

Don't just know your target, understand them!

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Often times it’s quite obvious when someone is not familiar or in some sort of contact with other ethnicities.  It’s an uncomfortable subject but it doesn’t have to be.  In marketing, it’s imperative to not only know your target audience, but understand and properly address them.

Imagine if you will a marketer presenting to a potential client.  The marketer is the “expert” on selling widgets to a particular demographic.  In the presentation, the marketers says, “And we completely understand and are leaders in marketing to the Spanish”.  Hmm.  What’s wrong with that statement?  Just because some speaks Spanish, doesn’t mean they’re from Spain.  The proper term is Hispanic or Latino.  The terms Blacks and African Americans for the most part are interchangeable.  But Africans and African Americans are NOT substitutable.  (If you don’t know the issue with this, please see me for an explanation.)

We all want to sound smart and be at he top of our game.  Just don’t try to be something you’re not.  Not having the right representation could shut you out of an entire market and label your business as insensitive, culturally unaware or even racist.  In the search for business, make sure to have the right partner that truly understands a particular market, not just their stereotype.


All-Star Weekend.  In my opinion, the best weekend all year.  Athletes, celebrities and of course, basketball.  This weekend is filled with color commentary, flashbacks and a show of the best of the best NBA players.  This past weekend in Houston … Continue reading

Not Just in February

Are you targeting only in February?

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We are coming off from Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and heading into Black History Month.  What a perfect time to highlight prominent African Americans and contributions from Blacks as a whole!  It’s also the time of year where we see a surge in advertising targeting African Americans.

Wait… isn’t this the trend every year?  Break the cycle!  It’s 2013.   February is not the only month they purchase vehicles, groceries, clothing or go out to eat. .  African Americans are looking to spend with companies that are more in tune with their needs, culture and communities.

It’s more than just linking your ads to a charitable cause or having promotions geared towards Blacks.  Annual spending for the African American community is around a trillion dollars, so why are companies content on general marketing advertising with an extra sprinkle during February?

African Americans are becoming less receptive to companies that have a general market campaign that just include black faces.  They prefer advertising that is targeted to their specific wants and needs.  If you do your home work, your brand can profit from additional sales and transactions. Target consumer spending reflects their desires.  They want relatable advertising that will speak to their knowledge, culture and who they are, not just a catchy jingle.