Dentsu

Dentsu is the latest ad agency holding company planning to help clients direct money to minority-owned media companies. The ad group unveiled a new initiative called Economic Empowerment, which will include consulting services to help drive systemic change in how brands make media-buying decisions.

Veteran ad buyer Mark Prince will lead the new division as Senior VP. “There’s a lot of competition to get ad dollars, so people sometimes tend to work with the partners they know,” he told the Wall Street Journal. “You have to be willing to be educated and open minded, looking at things that are not part of the familiar universe.”

The Economic Empowerment stand-alone division will consist of up to 20 employees and starts with approximately 500 media companies for advertisers to consider. Dentsu’s media agencies include Carat, iProspect, Dentsu X and 360i. As part of the initiative, Dentsu will encourage its clients to reveal publicly how much money they are allotting to minority-owned media companies.

General Motors, which uses Carat for media buys, is one of the first to use the Economic Empowerment unit. The automaker has promised to increase ad spending on Black-owned media to 4% by 2022 and 8% by 2025. That’s up from a 2% spend this year.

Dentsu also counts radio’s biggest advertiser Procter & Gamble, along with Microsoft, Mastercard, Pfizer and Kroger, among its clients.

Black-owned media companies represent less than 2% of total spend in 2020, according to Nielsen Ad Intel, while Black consumers represent 13% of the population, AdAge reports.

Last week, GroupM formed the Media Inclusion Initiative, an integrated investment strategy to support and grow diverse Black-owned media companies and creators. The program, the latest in the ad agency’s Responsible Investment framework, includes a 2+% Pledge and “Diverse Voices Accelerator” positive impact fund.

The American Association of Advertising Agencies, or the 4A’s, recently unveiled an initiative designed to funnel more ad dollars to minority-owned radio stations and media outlets. The group outlined a five-point commitment plan, developed through a series of meetings over the course of several months last year.