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Advertisers spending less on media targeting blacks

George Curry | 10/11/2013, 6 a.m.

Although annual black spending is projected to rise from its current $1 trillion to $1.3 trillion by 2017, advertisers allot only 3 percent of their $75 billion yearly budget to media aimed at black audiences, a new Nielsen report has found.

The study, “Resilient, Receptive and Relevant: The African-American Consumer 2013 Report,” was released at a news conference in September at the Congressional Black Caucus Legislative Weekend by Nielsen and the National Newspaper Publishers Association. The findings were released by Cheryl Pearson-McNeil, senior vice president of public affairs and government relations for Nielsen, and Cloves Campbell, chairman of the NNPA and publisher of the Arizona Informant.

“Advertising expenditures geared specifically toward black audiences reflected only 3 percent of advertising dollars spent,” the report stated. “Advertisers spent $75 billion on television, radio, Internet and magazine ads in 2012, with only $2.24 billion of that spent with media focused on black audiences.”

The report said if consumption patterns dictated a company’s advertising budget, then spending with the black media should be 44 percent higher on education and career websites, 38 percent higher on streaming websites, 37 percent higher on television (with special emphasis on cable) and 15 percent higher on mobile phone advertising.

“The consumer insights this year are some of the most varied yet,” said Pearson-McNeil. “From store brand loyalty, to top-watched television networks, which mobile apps are most popular, a deep dive into how blacks spend their digital time and how companies can reach 10 million black consumers by developing a southern regional strategy — this year’s report is really a compelling read for both advertisers and marketers.”

A 2011 study by Burrell Communications showed that 81 percent of blacks believe that products advertised in black media are more relevant to them.

Businesses that bypass the black media, the report said, limit their potential growth.

“Companies mistakenly believe there are no language barriers, that a general market ‘one-size-fits-all’ strategy is an effective way to reach African Americans,” the Nielsen study said. “Just the opposite is true.”

The Nielsen study names the companies that do the most advertising with black media:

Procter & Gamble at $75.32 million, L’Oreal at $52.34 million, McDonald’s at $38.24 million, Unilever at $31.48 million, the U.S. government at $28.36, Berkshire/Hathaway at $27.81 million, Comcast at $27.69 million, Hershey at $27.01 million, PepsiCo at $25.07 million, Walmart at $24.40 million, Fiat at $23.60 million, AT&T at $22.49 million, Verizon Communications at $22.08 million, Toyota at $21.43 million, General Motors at $20.81 million, Sony at ($19.88 million and Johnson & Johnson at $19.59 million.

Advertising by the top 20 companies increased by 2.5 percent between 2011 and 2012. The companies with the largest increases in spending with black media were: Unilever at 40.1 percent, PepsiCo at 39.1 percent, Walmart at 27.2 percent, the U.S. government at 26.4 percent, L’Oreal at 19.6 percent, Berkshire Hathaway at 15.1 percent and Comcast at 13.2 percent.

Top 20 advertisers with the largest decreases were: Johnson & Johnson at 30.7 percent, National Amusements at 26.2 percent and Verizon at 24.6 percent.