GM pledges more ad dollars to Black-owned media after Byron Allen call-out

General Motors said they aspire to be 'the most inclusive company in the world.'

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General Motors has vowed to increase its advertising dollars that go to Black-owned media companies. 

The move comes after Byron Allen and several Black media executives took out a full-page ad in several newspapers accusing Mary Barra, GM’s chief executive officer, of racism for refusing to meet with them “consistently, over time and after multiple requests.” 

“You stand on stage, after the death of George Floyd, saying, ‘Black Lives Matter,’ when you have refused to acknowledge us,” the ad reads. “The very definition of systemic racism is when you are ignored, excluded and you don’t have true economic inclusion.”

Read More: GM CEO responds to Byron Allen’s claims of racism

The open letter and ad are signed by Allen, who is the founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of Allen Media Group (which owns theGrio), Ice Cube of BIG3, Cubevision and CWBA, as well as Roland Martin, chief executive officer of Nu Vision Media, Inc.; Todd F. Brown, founder of Urban Edge Networks and HBCU League Pass; Don Jackson, founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Central City Productions; Earl “Butch” Graves Jr., president and chief executive officer of Black Enterprise; and Junior Bridgeman of Ebony Media.

Byron Allen
Byron Allen, (Credit: Getty Images)

General Motors responded to the allegations of racism by announcing plans to increase ad spending with Black-owned media from its current 2% to 4% by 2022 and to 8% by 2025, per Wall Street Journal.

“Black-owned media are a vital component of our marketing mix, and we evaluate our spend for media partners through several core metrics, including transparency, innovation, ad quality, audience delivery and brand safety,” General Motors said in a statement Thursday, Variety reports.

The company intends to further strengthen its relationship with diverse media outlets by rolling out an“upfront” process in May “that encourages partners and potential partners to submit business proposals” and “will be accredited by a third-party to ensure fairness and transparency.”

In a statement addressing the racism accusations, GM said it “aspires to be the most inclusive company in the world, and that includes how we allocate media spend.”

Read More: Byron Allen buys full-page ad blasting GM CEO Mary Barra as racist

The company continued, “We have increased our planned spending with both diverse-owned and diverse-dedicated media across our family of brands,”  per the statement.released on March 29. 

“Additionally, we continue to develop and advance initiatives like the Chevrolet “Real Talk, Real Change” platform and support projects like “More than That with Gia Peppers,” where we’ve partnered with the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters on a content series for Black American listeners produced and distributed by underrepresented businesses. In this same spirit, we will continue to have an open dialogue with Mr. Allen.”

Executives at General Motors, one of the nation’s biggest advertisers, were set to meet with a group of Black media moguls Thursday, but it was pushed back in favor of multiple meetings planned over the next few weeks with several Black media owners and influencers.

“This approach allows us to extend the conversation to more media organizations, keep the groups small enough to have meaningful dialogue and also allows us to extend the conversation to include our existing Black-owned media partners,” General Motors said.

*theGRIO’s Biba Adams and Keydra Manns contributed to this report

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