Your Advertising Clients Must React to the BLM Movement

BY Rachel Cagle
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The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement has been around since 2013. Whether you and your clients were aware of BLM before this year, you must agree that the movement is certainly making its mark this time. And it’s something marketers can no longer ignore, regardless of whether your client openly supports the movement. BLM has inspired changes in advertising that your clients should be aware of, according to a report by WARC.

BLM’s Effect on Businesses

Addressing Racial Injustice

Many consumers were already prepared to switch away from brands that have beliefs conflicting with their own. Now, there are even more who will stop making purchases from brands that don’t take a stand against racial injustice. And it doesn't stop at companies losing the business of these individuals. Consumers will also attempt to influence others to stop doing business with companies that appear indifferent to the movement.

Obviously, the most popular way to show your client’s stance against racial inequality this year is to support the BLM movement. Or to at least offer condolences for the innocents who have lost their lives. But honestly, that isn’t enough for most people. They want to see evidence of how your client’s brand is addressing social issues. Time Magazine offers a few ideas of how corporations can accomplish this.

It’s not just individual consumers who will pull away from a business because of its views on racial inequality and discrimination. Your clients may also be at risk of losing business partners. Just last week, Home Depot cut off its 25-​year business relationship with advertising agency The Richards Group because of racist remarks made by the agency’s founder. According to AdAge, Stan Richards recently said that, “an ad in a pitch was ‘too Black’ for the company's ‘white supremacist constituents.’” The agency was fired by multiple accounts immediately. And since Home Depot spends over $1 billion on advertising on an annual basis, that’s a huge loss for The Richards Group.

Diversity in Advertising

Your clients shouldn’t stop at showing support for BLM and/​or publicly taking a stand against racial inequality. Did you know that only 6% of the $480 billion spent on advertising in the U.S. is put toward minority group representation/​targeting? That’s crazy considering minorities now make up nearly half of the U.S. population. The general public is paying attention and taking note of which brands are creating inclusive ads. Advertising should no longer be as whitewashed as it is.

It’s worth your client’s time to show diversity in their ads. “A global analysis of over 11,000 ads on Kantar’s Link platform showed ads are more likely to get viewers’ attention and be remembered if they feature people from diverse backgrounds,” writes WARC. “They’re more enjoyable and involving — and they show sales benefits.”

BLM protests are still going on, even though they’re not getting the media attention they were earlier this year. And their effect will last for years to come. Create a plan of action with your clients and help them take a stand on the advertising platforms their target audience responds to the most. If you’re unsure which advertising media types those are, check out the target audience’s profile on AudienceSCAN on AdMall by SalesFuel.