15th Annual Edition
'Buying Power of Black America' report breaks down billions in expenditures

Black consumers are responding to tighter economic condition by focusing more of their spending on items and services that improve their homes and lifestyle. That's one of the trends revealed in the 15th annual report, "The Buying Power of Black America," published by Target Market News. The report analyzes spending for black households in 2008 and finds that African-Americans...
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 Black Stats  
Frequently requested data on African American consumers

Black Buying Power:
 $803 Billion (2008)

Black U.S. Population:
 41.1 million

Top Five Black Cities
 - New York
 - Chicago
 - Detroit
 - Philadelphia
 - Houston

Top Five Black Metros:
 - New York-New Jersey
 - Washington-Baltimore
 - Chicago-Gary
 - Los Angeles
 - Philadelphia

Top Five Expenditures:
 - Housing $166.3 bil.
 - Food $65.3 bil.
 - Cars/Trucks $31.5 bil.
 - Clothing $26.9 bil.
 - Health Care $23.9 bil.

Click here for more stats from "The Buying Power of Black America."
Get quick access to key
U.S. Census 
Bureau Data

Click here to go to African-American Census Bureau data


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Diageo produces it own reality series on BET to tap growing ethnic markets

By Paul Sonne
The Wall Street Journal
(October 4, 2010) As it looks to win over more minority drinkers in the U.S., spirits company Diageo PLC is launching a reality series on Black Entertainment Television in which its Smirnoff vodka brand plays a major role.

The eight-episode reality series, called "Master of the Mix," is the latest example of how consumer brands are increasingly taking to the airwaves with bought-and-paid-for content they produce themselves, and it shows how liquor companies are becoming more comfortable with TV, despite some criticism that their presence reaches underage consumers. By making its own content, Diageo is seeking complete control over how its brand is represented.

The BET series follows seven disc jockeys competing in music-mixing challenges, with one contestant having his or her "record scratched" -- eliminated -- at the end of each show. The judge is DJ Kid Capri; the host is hip-hop producer Just Blaze; and the side character is a Latina mixologist named Alex, the face of Smirnoff in the series, who rewards each episode's survivors with Diageo cocktails, interviews the DJs by the bar and shows viewers how to mix drinks, as opposed to beats.

Funded, created and produced entirely by U.K.-based Diageo, the world's largest liquor company by volume, the show is scheduled to make its debut on Viacom Inc.'s BET and its sister channel Centric in early November. It comes as other spirits companies, including Pernod Ricard SA and Bacardi Ltd., cultivate TV programs of their own.

Bacardi's Grey Goose vodka has an entertainment subsidiary that puts on the BET musician-profile show "Rising Icons," the Sundance Channel interview show "Iconoclasts," the Golf Channel program "Grey Goose 19th Hole" and other projects. Pernod Ricard joined with NBC Universal's LXTV to create an Absolut bar-tending contest show that started airing last year on local NBC affiliates in major U.S. metro areas; its new season launches this month.

Most of those efforts, however, have involved the beverage companies creating programming they sponsor—not inserting their brands as major characters.

"We're moving from a sponsor model to content creator," says David Tapscott, brand director for Smirnoff vodka, who leads Diageo's reality-show project. Mr. Tapscott says "Master of the Mix" is unabashed about featuring Smirnoff front and center, though the integration is meant to be seamless so the show doesn't resemble an infomercial.

"It would become apparent and would not feel natural to the audience, to our consumers, to BET's viewers," he says. "So when we show up we don't apologize for how we show up, but we only play in the places within the show where Smirnoff is naturally expected to be." That means by the bar or in the club.

"Master of the Mix" comes as part of a push at Diageo to pump up marketing to U.S. minority groups -- what Diageo calls multicultural consumers, a term that encompasses African-American, Hispanic and Asian drinkers, as well as the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities.

These groups have become target consumers for big spirits companies in the U.S. partly because of shifting demographics. Diageo estimates that 80% of U.S. sales growth in its core categories is going to come from these groups by 2015. The percentage of Diageo's above-the-line U.S. advertising spending—or its outlay dedicated to brand building in mass media—that is directed to the multicultural market has risen from 18% in the fiscal year ended June 30 to 22-25% this year, says Jim Moseley, Diageo North America's senior vice president for consumer planning and research.

The U.S. is Diageo's most important market. North America accounted for 34% of the company's £9.78 billion ($15.49 billion) in global sales in the fiscal year ended June 30. Mr. Moseley says that at least half the young people who reach the legal drinking age in the U.S. next year will be Hispanic.

Such statistics have changed Diageo's approach to marketing. "It used to be: OK, we'll fund our 'general market advertising' and if we have anything left over, we'll go do some placement on African-American or Hispanic-language television," Mr. Moseley says. But in recent years there has been a radical overhaul, he says: "There are inclusive plans from the get-go."

Now, Diageo develops an inclusive master message for each brand—Smirnoff's is“"original nightlife,"” Johnnie Walker's is “"keep walking" -- and then executes the concept differently for minority groups or subcultures in the U.S. to make it relevant.

That means creating a Smirnoff reality show featuring trendy clubs on an African-American channel, and launching a Johnnie Walker sponsorship of the New York Yankees that celebrates Hispanic baseball heroes.

Diageo says having full control over "Master of the Mix" is crucial. "It has allowed us to be very aggressive in making sure our message is seeded properly, and not just tagged on," Mr. Tapscott says. Instead of affixing Smirnoff, the show began with Smirnoff, and was tailored to the brand's "original nightlife" idea. Diageo owns the show's original music and can sell it online alongside other merchandise, potentially making the venture profitable.

Smirnoff became the first brand to break a decades-long voluntary ban on hard-liquor advertising on network television in 2001 when a Smirnoff responsible-driving ad ran on NBC during "Saturday Night Live." The following year, NBC backed away from its move to put hard-liquor ads on national network TV, but today networks still run hard-liquor content on local affiliates. An ad for Pernod Ricard's Absolut vodka that ran during the Grammy Awards last year was the first hard-liquor ad to run on CBS-owned local stations.

Some critics aren't happy with liquor companies making their own TV programs.

"These are new methods of marketing which are likely to circumvent the more traditional controls," says Thomas Babor, a professor of public health at the University of Connecticut. David Jernigan, head of the anti-alcohol group Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth, criticized the industry standard of airing alcohol-related content only during slots where 30% of the audience is under 21. He says it overexposes teenagers who go to bed watching late-night TV.

"We take our marketing code very seriously and our products are only intended for people that are above the legal drinking age," Diageo said in a written statement. "We have a clear and proven commitment to responsible marketing."

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