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Purpose Brand Business Tracker: Black Lives Matter Sparks Marketing Response

Published on August 4, 2020

The Black Lives Matter movement brings social justice and race conversations to mainstream marketing and PR. Purpose brands moved quickly to showcase their stance.

Being mindful of social change is crucial for your brand. Speaking up on what issues are important helps solidify the brand’s audience. The Black Lives Matter movement is an example of how brands help create social change. Brands build trust with their audience by giving their voices to the movement. This practice is important in understanding your audience demographics and forging a deeper customer relationship. 

According to The Purpose Report 2020,  Black respondents ranked racial rights as their most important issue (92%), a radical departure from the national population sample (76%) and from other groups, which all show similar levels of interest. They also showed statistically significantly higher concern with domestic violence and access to education/literacy. The report also highlights a sensitive tone of voice when addressing these issues in marketing and public relations campaigns. 

A respectful campaign addresses the issues currently being faced as well as acknowledging bias, while establishing a meaningful connection to the brand. The following analysis highlights corporate social responsibility campaigns ignited by Black Lives Matter. We will update this list as campaigns develop.

Bumble

The dating app merged its efforts to stand with Pride Month and Black Lives Matter by asking users to nominate LGBTQ+ organizations that support Black, Indigenous and people of color. Bumble is donating to $5,000 to these organizations to support at-risk communities, including aid to legal defense and community bail funds. They also participated in the #ShareTheMicNow campaign on Instagram, which highlighted Black women by amplifying their voices on accounts with large followings. 

Viacom

On June 29, the Nickelodeon cable TV channel launched Nick News Presents: Kids, Race, and Unity | Hosted By Alicia Keys, which features conversations with prominent Black Lives Matter leaders and provides tools for families to have conversations about race. They also participated in a blackout for 8 minutes and 46 seconds in support of justice, equality and human rights. The blackout represented the  time that George Floyd was pinned to the ground with Officer Derek Chauvin’s knee on his neck. 

iHeartMedia

On June 30, iHeartMedia launched BIN: Black Information Network, the first 24/7 national and local all-news audio service dedicated to providing an objective, accurate and trusted source of news coverage with a Black voice and perspective. Instead of traditional ad supported media, BIN is supported by sponsors who  support the mission. These partners are Bank of America, CVS Health, GEICO, Lowe’s, McDonald’s USA, Sony, 23andMe and Verizon.  

Twitter

Tweets from Black users are being showcased on billboards for Twitter’s latest campaign. The billboards are placed in cities such as Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, Louisville, Minneapolis, New York, Oakland and Philadelphia where protests occurred. The billboards included messages from writer Ashley Simpo; Bernice King, CEO of The King Center and daughter of Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King; author Frederick T. Joseph and many more. 

Disney

On June 25, The Walt Disney Co. announced it will be updating the amusement park ride  Splash Mountain with a new story inspired by the animated film “The Princess and the Frog.” This news comes after nearly 20,000 people signed a petition on Change.org to reimagine Splash Mountain’s original plantation story from the movie “Song of the South.” . 

Coca-Cola 

On June 28, the soft drink brand Sprite launched The Thing About Dreams, a campaign  featured at the 2020 BET awards. Inspired by the Black Lives Matter, the campaign puts a spotlight on injustice and the need for social change at the heart of  the American dream. The Coca-Cola Co. also pledged $500,000 to Black Lives Matter. 

PepsiCo

PepsiCo announced a campaign, Journey to Racial Equality in which the food and beverage company will donate $400 million over five years, implement non-bias training, increase the company’s current Black manager population by 30%, increase partnerships with diverse organizations and many more corporate social responsibility efforts. PepsiCo will also be investing $50 million to strengthen Black-owned small businesses, increasing participation of Black voices in marketing and adding 100 black associates to their executive ranks. 

NBA

The pro basketball league  is painting “Black Lives Matter” on the courts when game play resumes. The organization spoke out and wanted to keep the movement fresh in people’s minds. They also released an ad focusing on Black Lives Matter, which features videos and images of their players participating in marches. 

Procter & Gamble 

The consumer goods maker  released a campaign called, “The Choice,” which addresses white privilege. The ad shows a close-up of Black and white people and addresses privilege. It was first shown on Oprah Winfrey’s town hall on race in the United States. The campaign is aimed to showcase P&G’s stance on Black Lives Matter while also informing viewers. 

The Players’ Tribune

On July 10, Derek Jeter’s media company, which provides a platform for players to connect with their fans, via Twitter released a campaign featuring European professional athletes. The campaign highlighted the athletes’ experiences with racism and social injustice. The seven-minute video is filmed completely in black and white, also showcases images from protests across the world after George Floyd’s death. 

Comcast Corp.

The new chairman for NBCUniversal News Group, Cesar Conde, released a memo to staff in which he pledged NBC News  would focus on having a workforce made up of 50% people of color and 50% women. The initiative is called the “50 Percent Initiative.” Currently, the current employee base is 8 percent Black, 8 percent Hispanic and 8 percent Asian. The employee base is also nearly 50% women, according to the memo. 

DoorDash

DoorDash has partnered with online money lender Kiva to implement a loan fund starting at $150,000 to match loans for Black-owned U.S.-based restaurants. DoorDash is also highlighting Black-owned businesses and waiving delivery fees for those restaurants. Independent Black-owned restaurants can also pay zero commissions for 30 days when they sign up for DoorDash and Caviar this year. As well as supporting Black-owned businesses and restaurants, DoorDash has donated $1 million to the Black social justice movement and have created Dashers of Color Council, a group that will advise the company on issues facing Black delivery contractors, including safety and access.

Nike

On May 29, Nike swapped out their regular “Just Do It” slogan with the campaign “Just Don’t Do It.” A TV spot featured empowering statements about racism in America and stated a clear call to action for its audience. Nike is known for speaking out as a brand and this is no exception. Nike also vowed to donate $40 million to Black Lives Matter. 

Facebook 

Facebook pledged $10 million to racial justice groups, in a June 1 post from CEO Mark Zuckerberg. The post also promoted the work of his family charity the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.  Instagram the same day released a statement via the Facebook-owned platform showing support for the BLM movement. The hashtag #ShareBlackStories was showcased on the Instagram  feed in an effort to highlight black voices. Instagram  also promoted a new feature, Act for Racial Justice,” which was created to help users easily find resources to take action. The feature showcases posts in which users can be informed by and engage with. Currently, the feature has 21 posts with topics including  structural racism, Black queer and trans lives and how to talk to kids about race. 

Netflix

Netflix launched a Black Lives Matter collection. which features Black voices in a collection of movies, TV shows and documentaries. The collection features over 45 titles about the experiences of Black Americans and racial injustice. The collection includes “When They See Us,” “Mudbound.” “Orange Is the New Black,” “Dear White People” and “Moonlight” and many more. This new collection joins their other collections–“Black Behind the Camera,” “Black Comedy Icons,” “Black Music Legends” and “Black & Queer.” Netflix also pledged to move up to $100 million to financial institutions that focus on black communities. 

ViacomCBS

ViacomCBS took to social media channels to show support for the BLM movement. The network participated in #BlackOutTuesday, which paused and blacked out many of their brands for 8 minutes and 46 seconds in support of justice, equality and human rights. 

Sesame Workshop

Sesame Street” took to Instagram to release a statement in support of the BLM movement. The children’s media producer partnered with CNN on a virtual town hall event, “Coming Together: Standing Up to Racism.” The town hall featured Elmo, his dad Louie and other Muppet characters in  a conversation about racism and how parents can discuss race with children at an early age. 

Lush Cosmetics 

Lush released a statement supporting Black Lives Matter via its social media platforms. A six-tier action plan released over 90 days includes an internal diversity audit, mandatory anti-racism training for all staff, strengthen our anti-racism, anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policies, remove barriers that prohibit the growth, sense of belonging and advancement of black employees, put our money where our mouth is and use our platforms to amplify and center black voices. They are also establishing a BID (Belonging Inclusion Diversity) board to support training in the company. 

Unilever

After four years of supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, ice-cream brand Ben & Jerrys took to its website to release a powerful statement calling for the dismantlement of white supremacy. The statement highlighted four calls to action: a formal process of healing and reconciliation; legislation  to recommend remedies to the legacy of slavery and to make police accountable; and to reinvigorate  Department of Justice Civil Rights Division as a defender of the rights of Black and Brown people.

McDonald’s

McDonald’s released a new ad titled “One of Us,” with the names of those in the Black community who were unjustly killed. The ad was posted on Twitter with calls for action against systemic oppression, police brutality and racist violence. McDonald’s CEO announced a town hall for employees on this topic. McDonald’s also donated to the National Urban League and the NAACP. 

Postmates

Postmates voiced its stance on social media in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. A collection featured Black-owned restaurants in 130 cities. The food delivery service also donated to the Minnesota Freedom Fund and the NAACP. 

VSCO

The photo editing app launched a campaign, #BlackJoyMatters, which focuses on highlights success stories of Black individuals all summer long. Black users of the app are encouraged to submit their content using the hashtag and VSCO will amplify their voices through their various channels, the Discover section of the app and brand partnerships. 

Gap

Gap’s Old Navy brand is known for sing-along commercials promoting its apparel. . The ad “We are We” is different, featuring five activists:Marley Dias, a 15-year-old feminist and author of #100BlackGirlBooks;  Ja’Mal Green, a civil rights advocate in Chicago; Sara Mora, immigrant rights activist and co-founder of Women’s March Youth Empower; Dawn Bozeman, a community activist for racial equality in Dunlap, Illinois, and Sharene Wood, a Harlem-based Black Women for Black Girls board member.

Salesforce

Salesforce showed support for the BLM via social media. Salesforce created a new Twitter handle around Black employees named BOLD (Black Organization for Leadership and Development).  Livestreams on “Injustice & Race” encouraged public conversations. 

Verizon

On July 14, Verizon announced “Citizen Verizon”to groom500,000 low-skill workers, mostly minorities, for jobs of the future by 2030 as well as provide 10 million underserved youths with digital skills training. Verizon also announced plans to reduce their carbon footprint by 2035. Verizon donated $10 million to social justice organizations such as the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation and the National Urban League.

Wrigley

The candy brand Skittles partnered with singer Todrick Hall to donate $100,000 to the National Black Trans Advocacy Coalition. The brand supported the LGBTQ+ community by removing the rainbow from its packaging in honor of the only rainbow that matters during Pride Month. They also made a $100,000 donation to GLAAD.

Nordstrom

Nordstrom released a statement in support of the BLM movement on their website. They implemented forums set up by their own Black Employee Network called Courageous Conversations.  The conversations are centered around topics such as race, social injustice and more. 

Uber

On July 17, Uber pledged to be an an anti-racist company by doubling Black representation among the five most senior corporate levels, streamlining opportunities to give delivery works and drivers corporate opportunities, maintain equal pay across race and gender, strengthen its internship program to reach underrepresented groups and expand its Fairness Working Group, which will audit racial bias in Uber’s operation. On top of that, Uber has been spotlighting Black-owned restaurants on UberEats and offering discounted rides to Black-owned businesses affected by the coronavirus. Uber  also donated $1 million to the Equal Justice Initiative and Center for Policing Equity and plans on investing $10 million in Black-owned small businesses over the next two years. 

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