Saturday, September 1, 2007

My Black is Beautiful, but My Hat is Funny

Continuing with the marketing to the brown peoples of America meme we’ve had going on the past few days, we can’t overlook Proctor & Gamble’s My Black is Beautiful campaign. But we’re a bit suspicious of big corporations doing apparently good stuff. Especially when they feature rhyming lines in the web commercial like, "Whether natural from the inside or skillfully applied, my black is beautiful." Doesn’t P&G normally promote the American Platonic Ideal of the straight blonde haired woman? So how is this new campaign going to change what they normally do? The probing BlackWomb blog had some good commentary:

In addition to an online ad campaign, will Procter and Gamble use more Black women (of all shades) in their television and print advertisements? Will Black women be used to advertise products to the general public or just products targeted to Black people? Will P&G pull its support from networks that promote negative images and stereotypes of Black women? Will P&G put its money into national public exposure for "My Black is Beautiful" in a way that drastically changes the way media operates?

Maybe the last question is a bit too much to ask of a single ad campaign by a single corporation, but the rest are valid queries. And we think that the "action grants" P&G is offering are probably a pretty good indication of how serious they are:

Procter & Gamble has issued $50,000 in My Black is Beautiful action grants this year to community-based organizations dedicated to the health, education and empowerment of African-American girls. Action grant recipients include the W.E.B. Dubois Society, GirlSpirit-Women Song Inc., and Urban Academy.

Well, this is a company with $8,700,000,000 in income on $68,222,000,000 in revenue, so that's 0.00057% of income and 0.00007% of revenue that P&G has generously dedicated to the "health, education, and empowerment of African-American girls." Those are the types of numbers Wall Street likes to see.

(As for the picture, you're looking at actress Victoria Rowell (left) and Procter & Gamble's Associate Director of Multicultural Marketing, Najoh Tita-Reid.)

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