Category Archives: TARGET AUDIENCE

Realizing the IMPORTANCE of African American Women


Taliah Waajid World Natural Hair Show, Atlanta, October 2013

We’ve heard and most of us have seen the strength of African American women.  The ability to effortlessly take care of home, work and still look stylish.  We see this in movies, television shows, talk shows and in everyday life.  They are at the forefront of style, trends and American culture.

Recently in Atlanta there was a natural hair show.  Thousands of women flocked to see what new products were new in this industry.  African American women are a complete niche market.  From hair, to clothes to shoes and shows, there is virtually every market that can reach theses strong women.

What are companies doing to speak to them?  Is it a good representation?   African American women are a great influence in the lives of their families, friends, community and anyone that is playing close attention (and that should be everyone).  If the hair industry, from mom and pops to top brands realize the importance of African American women, shouldn’t you?


Will You Love Me for Breakfast?

Will You Love Me for Breakfast?For years, McDonald’s, Burger King, Chick-Fil-A have all been dominate forces in the breakfast game.  Recently, others have been testing the market.  Taco Bell, Wendy’s and Popeyes have expanded some of their locations to include breakfast items.

Taco Bell recently launched breakfast with a Waffle Taco, A.M. Crunchwrap and A.M. Griller, along with other items.  Wendy’s breakfast list includes a Mornin’ Melt Panini, an Artisan Egg Sandwich and a Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit.  Popeyes’ extended menu serves up grits, country fried steak biscuit, and of course their signature Louisiana’s Best Chicken Biscuit.

While they may still be in test mode, other franchises have made the successful transition into breakfast.  Dunkin’ Donuts has expanded their menu to include an assortment of breakfast sandwiches, even some that are targeted to health conscious individuals.  One of the fastest growing QSR chains, Subway has made breakfast a part of their day for over three years.

BBDO surveyed 1,000 Millennials about their eating-out habits and attitudes (including their views on some of the most popular QSR and fast-casual restaurants).  Among those ages 13 to 29: 18.5% are Hispanic; 14.2% are black; 4.3% are Asian; 3.2% are mixed race or other; and 59.8% are white.  According to the research, 60% of Millennial “foodies” eat at fast-food restaurants at least once a week.  Millennials use food as a form of self-expression and entertainment.  When Millennials likes something, they share it with their world through Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.  The same goes for when they don’t like something, everyone will know.

Millennials will share what’s on their mind and they also respect each other’s opinions.  The advertising is in but the jury is out…Will Taco Bell, Wendy’s and Popeyes be able to take a slice of the breakfast quiche?  Tell us, would you still love them for breakfast?


Cheerios’ Bold Move Outs Racist Maniacs

Kudos to Cheerios for bravely taking a step into the new multiculturalism that already shapes America’s population, but is rarely portrayed in media.

In less than 72 hours, Cheerios’ “Just Checking” commercial racked up 300,000 views on their YouTube channel (now close to 3 Million) and pulled the sheets off of America’s closeted, racist underbelly. Following suit of the other spots in the campaign, “Just Checking” innocently features a child interacting with her parents. The pot-stirring difference appears to be the ethnicities of the multiracial daughter, Anglo-(looking) mom and African American(-looking) dad. So stirred was this pot of discrimination, so visceral the comments left by trolls, that Cheerios decided to disable its comments on this video, proving that with progress does not often come without resistance. has continued the dialogue on their message boards, where you can read (or chime in) on both sides of this heated and storied debate. Even Ad Age wrote a post on the breakfast cereal that was socially shared more than 600 times within hours of its posting.

Shaherra Rolen Family
Our own Shaherra Rolen commented that for the first time in recent memory, she saw a commercial image that resembled her own multi-racial family. She stated:

It’s great to finally see a commercial that is relatable to me, a wholesome family that just happens to be multiethnic.  Growing up I didn’t see a lot of mixed people fully represented on television.  Even now, the family structure is still shown as two parents of the same ethnicity.  I’m so glad to have had my bowl of Cheerios this morning and will do more to support General Mills products.

In your opinion, do you think Cheerios and General Mills took a brave step into the new multiculturalism, or did they try too hard? And how do you think this will affect the casting of future American TV spots?

Justin J. Jordan

Radio Shock

First Kmart, then Mountain Dew, now Radio Shack.  It seems that every week another company is pushing the advertising envelope with shock.  Kmart kicked off with “Shipped My Pants”, I can deal with that.  I actually thought it was fairly clever.  One Million Moms on the other hand, didn’t think so.  They wanted this ad pulled from the Internet.  Kmart responded by placing the ad on television.

Mountain Dew’s goat commercials have been deemed racist and sexist.  PepsiCo has pulled the Internet ads.  (Read previous blog post, “Series(al) Killer).  Rev. Jesse Jackson  decided to have conversation with the beverage giant and the serious implications of the campaign.

Now, on to Radio Shack.  Their latest commercial for Beat by Dre Pill Speakers features crooner Robin Thicke, singing the hook to his latest single, “Blurred Lines”.  The commercial was very similar to the video for the song, except it featured the speakers with the hashtag #uwantit. The music video, in my opinion is very risqué and is filled with sexual innuendo.  The commercial is very similar and shows a woman on all fours with the oval shaped speakers on her back.

Shock value works sometimes.  I get that.  We use it to gain attention, get people talking and get our message across.  But when does it cross the lines and becomes poor taste?  Sometimes the shock value can have the adverse affects and have people talking negatively about the brand or product.  What do you think?  Did Radio Shack go too far or have we been desensitized enough that the shock is really not shocking?

Oh Ship!

The title alone made you want to read more.  You probably had to read it twice to make sure you read it correctly.  Similarly, a great ad grabs your attention.  But what about the content?  Should consumers be satisfied with the continuous shove of celebrity endorsements or stunned by an ad that uses shock methods to draw them in?

Recently, Kmart aired their latest commercial online.  They “Shipped Their Pants”… and drawers and bed.  It was enough to get the buzz growing around Kmart and letting customers know about their strong online shopping presence.

In about a week there were over 11 million hits and consumers made their own versions of the 30-second commercial.  Does that alone constitute a great ad?  Was the intended message effectively conveyed?  Shelf life is critical.  The message needs to hit hard while there is still a buzz.

About two months ago, the “Harlem Shake” hit the Internet with everyone from the Armed Forces to to the Miami Heat players posting their rendition.  Right now, it’s old news.

Testing the waters online can be a great strategy.  Advertisers can see if there is in interest and possible move the commercial into other mediums. However, online advertising may not crossover as seamlessly to television or radio.  There might be some backlash for what can be seen as an immature attempt at humor once aired.

Remember, we live in a digital age.  If the consumers don’t like it, believe that they’ll let you know.  Instantly!

Time to Move Your Furniture


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My parents built a home in 2000.  I know that place like the back of my hand.  I can easily walk through the house in the dark.  Why?  Because the furniture never moves.  The couches are stationary, beds stay in the same place and the world might come to an end if I move a plant.  My parents liked that everything had a place and go by “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it”.  

Now me being their child, I’m the complete opposite.  I’ve lived in my home four years and arranged my bedroom furniture at least six times.  Couches change places every few months.  I even trade my dining room and kitchen tables just to see how I like it.  I remember the first time my husband and I decided to move the couches.  We were both nervous because neither of our parents move their furniture.  Then a light bulb came on…We’re grown! We are not going to know if we like it unless we try and hey, it takes about five minutes.  If we didn’t like it, we could try something else.

Which are you when it comes to reaching your target audience?  Do you go with the “If it’s not broke” method or “Never know unless you try”?  Keep in mind that although your marketing and advertising methods worked great in the 1980s, times have changed and so has your target market.  Their needs are different.  For example, if you were a hotel advertising to business people in the ‘80s, you would probably highlight your friendly customer check-in and your business center with a fax machine.  Today, it’s all about Wi-Fi, convenience and speed.  

Travel among Women, Asian-Americans, Hispanics and African Americans have risen significantly in recent years and continuing to soar.  The Asian-American population is projected to increase by 31 percent between 2010 and 2020.  At 47 percent, Asian-Americans reported the highest share of hotel/B&B stays in 2010 with Hispanic travelers second at 42 percent.  These numbers are steadily increasing and in order for advertisers to effectively capture the attention of the growing population, their advertising to reflect each group’s needs.  

Sources: Suzanne Cook Consulting, LLC; U.S. Travel Association; U.S. Travel/Ypartnership travelhorizonsTM; TNS Travels America; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

BlackBerry Juice

Has BlackBerry gotten their "juice" back?

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Apple and Samsung have all but taken over the cell phone industry.  You will see a sprinkle of LG here and a sliver of Pantech there, but for the most part, these two large makers have the industry on lock.  What about BlackBerry?  I remember if you had a BlackBerry for work, that meant you had arrived.  Not everyone was allowed to have one, only management.  Now, my 11-year-old son is saving his money to get rid of it and get a “better” phone.  Sales in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom dropped by 53 percent third quarter last year from a year earlier to $949 million, according to a December 21 company filing.

For the past few years cell phone makers have designed and redesigned their products several times over.  It seems like there is a phone that will cater to each person, personality and business need.  Somehow the once coveted BlackBerry lost its juice.  It kept its signature keypad while others were switching to touch screens.  They lagged behind on technology.  Simply put, they didn’t move with the times.

Last month at the BlackBerry 10 launch, RIM (Research in Motion), BlackBerry’s parent company named Alicia Keys as the Global Creative Director.  Yes, Alicia Keys the singer.  Hmm,  didn’t see that coming.  Her role will entail working with app creators, retailers and the entertainment community.  I’ve thought about this.  Why Alicia Keys?  I know she’s talented but what does she bring to the table?

Well, Keys brings to the table what BlackBerry lags.   She has several factors working for her.  One, she fits the new demographics…young, vibrant and is constantly on the go.  This is digital share-all society.  Cell phones are not just for emergencies.  They’re for ordering food through apps, Tweeting, playing Temple Run and yes, even working.  Another plus for Keys: her appeal isn’t limited stateside.  She actually is global, doing humanitarian work in Africa and performing everywhere from the United Kingdom to Portugal.  Lastly, she is the ALICIA KEYS!  Since her debut album in 2001, she has managed to stay relevant and in the public eye.  Keys is a coveted vocalist, activist and remains a hot commodity.

She has mass marketing appeal.  Old, young, black, white, American, Asian and everyone in between, Alicia Keys has a spark.  However, is that spark enough to convert faithful Apple and Samsung users?  Only time will tell if BlackBerry’s got their juice back…

We want to hear from you!  What are your thoughts around the direction BlackBerry is taking?