Have you ever watched a commercial or saw an advertisement that looked as if it may be targeted to Black people and thought to yourself, “Who in the hell created this?” or “I can already tell there were no Black people in the creative room.”
At Advertising Week’s recent “Woke, Lit & Ready” panel, Black executives and creatives discussed how too many failed campaigns occur because companies and brands overlook Black Twitter and fail to include authentic Black voices in the planning process for their campaigns. When this happens and the campaign or ad is released, it gets backlashed by the very market they wished to target.
In order to target your brand to Black consumers in a respectful, real, and engaging way, it’s vital that companies don’t exclude authentic Black people from having a seat at the table. By including Black people in the decision making and planning process, companies and brands will have a higher chance at connecting and engaging with the Black community. As McCann’s Chief Diversity Officer Singleton Beato said, “[brands] have to stop sleeping on this talent.” Brands have to add diversity to their all-white teams so that when advertising to the Black community, they can create relatable campaigns and send authentic messages.
From Pepsi’s dreaded commercial with Kendall Jenner, to Shea Moisture’s melanin-deficient ad, and to Tory Burch’s awful commercial with the skinny white model dancing to “Ju Ju On The Beat” (just to name of few), it is obvious that too many companies are forgetting to include individuals that belong to and relate to the main target market that they wish to appeal to.
Or, if they are Burger King, they release the commercial below (which by the way I believe is still one of the worst ads ever created):
As GIPHY’s Culture Editor Jasmyn Lawson inferred at the “Woke, Lit & Ready” event, a campaign is almost guaranteed to fail when Black people are not represented or sitting at the tables in the campaign’s creative process. “We know when we’re an afterthought,” Jasmine said. “We can tell when it’s real, not a response or reaction or trying to play us.”
As the “Woke, Lit & Ready” panelists discussed, one of the simplest ways to successfully market to the Black community is to not sleep on Black creatives and those with a voice with Black Twitter. Black Twitter is one of the largest communities of influential, social media users and have driven culture and business ideas faster than ever. If your brand wants to connect with Black people, connecting with Black creatives or Black Twitter influencers is key. These individuals have demonstrated that they know how to successfully create content and engage with Black people on a variety of topics.
When you partner or hire people that “get it” and that understand the Black community you wish to target, everybody wins. Brands become recognized for being able to successfully connect with diverse audiences, thus having a successful, engaging campaign. The Black creatives get recognized for their work and are able to influence their community, while getting financially recognized for it.