Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Looks like Procter & Gamble is feeling generous during Black History Month. The following comes from the Associated Press…
P&G increases spending on ads targeted to black consumers
CINCINNATI (AP) — Procter & Gamble Co. is building on its decades-long tradition of targeting products and advertising to black consumers, hoping to tap into their growing spending power.
The consumer products giant spends at least six times more on ads in magazines and broadcasts aimed at a black audience compared with five years ago, and is expanding its roster of black celebrities who pitch moisturizers and razors.
Industry watchers say the company has been a model for advertising that features black faces and black families without stereotypes.
“Without question, P&G has to be seen as one of the companies that other companies pattern their behavior after,” said Ken Smikle, president of Target Market News, a Chicago firm that tracks trends in advertising for black consumers.
Cincinnati-based P&G featured a young Bill Cosby in a 1969 ad for Crest toothpaste and in the 1970s created a separate unit to develop marketing for an ethnic audience.
“It was the (population) numbers, combined with the cultural differences, that made it such an opportunity, and frankly such a necessity,” said Buddy Tucker, former head of the unit who left the company last year.
“I am proud to say that when we received some racist backlash from a small number of consumers over the 800 (phone) lines (for customer complaints), management stood behind us and remained committed to reaching out to ethnic consumers.”
Today, black spending power is approaching $800 billion yearly, according to the University of Georgia’s Selig Center for Economic Growth. P&G sees that as a promising source for its goal to increase overall sales by 5 percent.
The company recently hired Tiger Woods for an upcoming campaign to promote Gillette razors, adding to celebrities such as actresses Angela Bassett for Olay lotions and Queen Latifah for Cover Girl makeup.
The company also tweaks the ad message, and products themselves, based on research into black customers’ preferences.
It added flavors to Crest Whitening Expressions toothpaste and scents to Gain detergent because research showed blacks and Hispanics want more scents and flavors. It touts the ability of Olay Definity cream to smooth skin tones for black women, while it’s marketed as an anti-aging cream for white women.
“It’s imperative that I see African-American faces in those spots, but it needs to be more than that,” said Sallie Elliott of North College Hill in suburban Cincinnati, a promoter for a leadership program honoring local black youth. “If it gets talked about in the beauty shop, then it’s on target.”