Byron Allen push leads to IPG Mediabrands committing at least 5% to Black-owned media

"I will not stop until every corporation in America follows their excellent example."

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Byron Allen’s call for advertisers to allocate more dollars to Black-owned media has prompted IPG Mediabrands, one of the industry’s largest ad agency holding companies, to officially commit a minimum of 5% of their media budgets to Black-owned media companies by 2023.

“This announcement is an historic moment for corporate America and for Black America, because the greatest trade deficit in the United States is the trade deficit between White corporate America and Black America, and we must close that trade gap immediately so that we can achieve ONE AMERICA,” said Byron Allen, Founder, Chairman & CEO of Allen Media Group. “Every American and every corporation needs to lean in to make sure that we achieve the FOUR “Es” in our country — a great EDUCATION for every American, ECONOMIC inclusion for every American, EQUAL justice for every American, and ENVIRONMENTAL protection for everyone — so that we can truly become ONE AMERICA and actually have a slice of heaven right here on earth. I applaud IPG Mediabrands and their clients, and I will not stop until every corporation in America follows their excellent example.”

Read More: Byron Allen’s Allen Media Group acquires seven stations from Gray TV for $380M

The announcement follows Mediabrands’ first Equity Upfront, a week-long investment initiative designed to educate clients and foster partnerships with influential Black-owned media brands. PerThe Associated Press, some of the outlets presenting at the event included Blavity, Ebony, Essence, ReachTV, Revolt, The Source, Urban One and more.

Byron Allen Is Inducted Into The Broadcasting & Cable Hall Of Fame In New York's Historic Ziegfeld Theatre
Byron Allen / Getty

IPG Mediabrands, the media and marketing solutions division of Interpublic Group, spends approximately $30 billion annually. Daryl Lee, Global CEO at Mediabrands said “the time is past due to embrace the opportunities to connect with influential audiences through Black-owned media.”

Lee continued, “Innovation and growth are flourishing across Black-owned media outlets, providing brands with deeply authentic ways to reach diverse audiences in a supportive, meaningful manner. We are excited to be adding our voice to a growing industry conversation in support of greater diversity and equity in media spend.”

Earlier this week, IPG Mediabrands and Kinesso announced the appointment of Aisha Suleiman, a Black woman, as the first head of diversity, equity and inclusion for the EMEA region. 

“As a leading global media network, Mediabrands holds a huge amount of power and influence when it comes to taking the lead in advocating for diversity and inclusion through work that reaches millions across the globe,” Suleiman said in a statement. “I’m excited to be joining Christian, Hermon and the wider team to help weave a fairer and more equitable approach through the fabric of the Mediabrands and Kinesso business, creating a community and culture that drives better outcomes for us, our clients, and the wider world.”

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

In March, Allen sent letters of intent to brands and their agencies and threatened legal action if they don’t allocate a minimum of 2% of their budgets to Black-owned media. He also joined forces with several Black media executives and 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.”

“General Motors aspires to be the most inclusive company in the world, and that includes how we allocate media spend.  We have increased our planned spending with both diverse-owned and diverse-dedicated media across our family of brands,” the company said in a statement. “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.”

Earlier this year, Allen, who owns The Weather Channel and several cable networks and local stations, settled a racial discrimination lawsuit with cable giants Comcast and Charter, with both agreeing to carry some of his channels. 

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