GM has increased its spending on advertising in Black-owned media to live up to a pledge initially made in 2021, but the amount and effectiveness of that spending remains contentious according to a recent survey.
The data was collected through a survey of seven Black-owned media companies, Ad Age reports. The respondents provided opinions and sometimes dollar information about the ad spending of Target, Walmart, Procter & Gamble Co., Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, and GM.
From a big-picture perspective, ad spending with the Black-owned companies reached $880 million, or nearly 300 percent of similar spending by the six major corporations in 2020. “Diverse-owned” media saw an 80 percent rise overall to $1.4 billion according to the survey.
Zooming in on The General’s actions, a spokeswoman from GM claimed Black-owned media has received more than the targeted two percent of GM’s ad budget in 2021 and four percent in 2022. She also said the company is on track to meet its goal of directing 8 percent of its advertising money to Black-owned media outlets by 2025.
Satisfaction with GM among the surveyed media companies varied considerably according to Ad Age. One media executive said GM paid within 30 days, much faster than most advertisers, and stated that there are “nothing but check boxes here for us with GM.”
Other Black-owned media companies offered mixed reviews of GM as an advertising partner, with one noting “at the dealer level they don’t control all the money,” and still another complaining that over the past two years “there are delays in approvals and weeks go by and then we are told we were not selected.”
The recent changes in GM advertising strategy, including its increasing budget for ads in Black-owned media, began with a letter to CEO Mary Barra published as a full-page ad in The Detroit Free Press in March 2021. The letter demanded Barra increase advertising spend in Black-owned media to five percent of GM’s ad budget from a claimed 0.5 percent at the time, or a tenfold increase.
Barra initially agreed to meet with Black media leaders, but the group meeting was later canceled in favor of a series of one-on-one meetings with individual executives. The same month, rapper Sean “Diddy” Combs continued demanding greater ad spending from GM.
Shortly thereafter, GM said it would double its ad spending with Black-owned media. It also established the target of 8 percent ad spending by 2025 which is still its goal today.
Later that year, in October 2021, GM also partnered with the Black Automotive Media Group (BAMG) to provide internship placements for 15 students involved with journalism, videography, photography, and marketing in the auto industry.