I began my NYC career in targeted “multi-cultural” media. It served me well, and next to my current gig was one of the most rewarding and fulfilling experiences of my life. We made many strides, corrected a lot of the imagery, and affected many lives. It felt good. How did a “white” guy from Tennessee do this? For me, it was straightforward. I recalled my own experience of lazy thinking and stereotypes I’d been exposed to in NYC (and other places) when SOME people heard I was from Tennessee (no teeth, barefoot, ignorant, a racist, etc.). Then I’d ATTEMPT to imagine what it may have been like for someone else with a different background, culture, religion, shade of skin, history, etc., and multiply by 50x or 100x and assume I’d still only captured the smallest sample of how badly it might actually feel. There was a word for it, “empathy,” but I never gave it a thought. I just thought it was only “HUMAN.”
I also always used to say that you could not SUE YOUR WAY TO SUCCESS. You had to work hard, do what you say, underpromise and overdeliver, and prove the benefit of why someone could be part of the solution and “do the right thing” by also doing business with you. Most importantly, you had to PUT OUT A GOOD PRODUCT that others would WANT or NEED.
It appears I may have been wrong on both accounts.
LINK TO STORY HERE
ADDENDUM – Though I do agree with Byron Allen, advertisers should put more money towards African American audiences, how they go about this varies, but many already do. African American Actors or characters in commercials is at an all time high for a reason – AA appeal to both white and AA audiences. AA audiences are already tuned into “mainstream” media because they ARE “mainstream,” Diversity is a GOOD thing, ALWAYS. Allen’s problem is he thinks diversity means spending money with him no matter how terrible his products are… and some of them are legendarily and infamously bad. He has almost ZERO creative eye.
There are a plethora of other options for advertisers to put their money (See below from Cynopsis 3.17.21) and Allen blackmailing companies to do business with him hurts the overall cause of diversity. He’s a bully and a victim all in the same breath.
FROM CYNOPSIS 3.17.21 – BNC, the news network dedicated to covering the Black and Brown communities, has reached an agreement with CBS Media Ventures to augment the network’s Direct Response and National advertising sales team. CBS Media Ventures will provide BNC with increased representation for Direct Response advertising agencies as well as enhanced engagement with National Brands. The partnership is aimed at generating more spot advertising and sponsorship opportunities for brands looking to connect with BNC’s audience. “We’re thrilled to partner with CBS Media Ventures…their team is aligned with our values, they understand why we exist and want to help drive our vision,” said Princell Hair, President and CEO of BNC. “Connecting with a demographic that has more than $1.3 trillion in annual spend presents significant opportunities, and we’re looking forward to working with CMV on building value for brands that want to engage with BNC.”