Reverend Jesse Jackson recently fired off a letter to the execs over at BMW regarding their “Non Urban Dictate (NUD)” policy for an upcoming advertising campaign for its MINI Cooper. The policy mandates that their will be no specific outreach done in urban media, i.e. no outreach to Blacks.
NUD basically means that a company does not want their marketing and advertising materials placed in media outlets that target urban (meaning African-American) audiences. Tom Joyner spoke out about the practice on “The Tom Joyner Morning Show” in 2004, when CompUSA was discovered using it. At the time, he called out more than 20 other companies who had a NUD policy in effect – including Lexus, Starbucks, Ethan Allan, Northwest Airlines, and even Life Savers.
According to Eurweb.com (The Electronic Urban Report), The Westside Gazette is reporting that the civil rights leader sent a letter to the automaker expressing concern over the NUD stamp on future ads touting the MINI Cooper.
So what’s the reason for BMW’s refusal to advertise on urban media? Do they think that because Blacks have a 51 percent greater prevalence of obesity than whites that we just won’t fit into the MINI Cooper? Or could it be because the MINI Cooper has long been thought to be a “gay” car that Blacks simply won’t be interested in purchasing one lest they be accused of being gay? I guess the execs over at BMW don’t listen to rap or watch rap music videos, because if they did, they’d know that besides liquor, women, and bling, it’s all about the car with a lot of the rappers who continue to set trends within specific African-Americans demographics. Not to mention tapping songstress Mary J. Blige for Chevy’s ad campaign didn’t hurt either. GM maybe be having its overall financial difficulties, but ask GM how sales of Cadillac’s and Chevy’s are doing among African-Americans. Cream on the inside, clean on the outside…
But it’s this one thing that’s got me tripping, many of the same companies who are accused of practicing NUD, go out of their way to market to the LGBT community, including BMW.
BMW Ad Targeted Towards LGBT Community in West Hollywood
Just last year, the Boston Globe reported that BMW and over 200 other mainstream companies specifically target the LGBT community for their purchasing power estimated at $690 billion in the U.S., according to the 2007 Gay Press Report. These companies frequently advertise in national magazines like The Advocate that specifically target the LGBT community.
According to a 2008 survey (Mediapost.com) of nearly 2,300 consumers, the most gay-friendly brands were Bravo, Apple, Showtime, HBO, Absolut and Levi’s, and have either undertaken significant LGBT-targeted marketing efforts or have featured gay imagery in their advertising (such as a Levi’s ad that was cut in both straight and gay iterations).
“This issue, along with many others, continues to boycott communities of color and excludes us from participating on a level economic playing field even when we fully embrace and purchase your vehicles,” commented Reverend Jesse Jackson.
Jackson’s letter to BMW comes on the heels of similar correspondence sent to the auto company from the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters (NABOB) requesting a meeting to discuss “a corporate culture that condones discriminatory practices.”
Both NABOB and Jackson’s Rainbow PUSH have questioned the role of BMW’s African-American ad agency of record, The Matlock Group, and whether it was using the expertise of the agency to avoid the exclusion of urban radio stations and other African-American media outlets in the placement of advertising.
Thus far, both organizations say they are still awaiting a response from BMW executives.
Meanwhile, this year BMW of San Diego was a proud Rainbow Sponsor of the 2009 San Diego Pride Parade and Festival, Lexus was listed as an Award sponsor of the 2009 Outfest Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Film Festival and a national partner of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) , Continental Airlines was a Sapphire sponsor of the 2009 NYC gay pride Starbucks showed sponsor love for GLAAD’s Media Award— all companies reported to practice NUD. While my gay brothers and sisters of the lighter shade often talk about inclusion, diversity, and equality as it relates to gay marriage, I wonder if that same rhetoric extends to accepting money from companies who won’t advertise in the Black community. But I guess because I am Black and gay, I am supposed to just be happy that BMW markets to the LGBT community. Somehow, the Black part of me just doesn’t see it that way.
At any rate, it’s food for thought, especially for the Black SGL community, because I can tell you, it’s not your Blackness that BMW is marketing to when you open that gay magazine or attend that gay pride festival. And when was the last time you saw any of the companies that practice NUD sponsor or support a Black gay event? Ah hah!
In other news, despite all, GM continues to post record sales among African-Americans and is rumored to be up for a NAACP Image Award, lol j/k…sort of.