Through Group Black, P&G Pledges Nine-Figure Advertising Buy in Black-Owned Media

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Group Black, a collective and accelerator for Black-owned media, announced Thursday morning that it has secured a significant media investment from the consumer goods corporation Procter & Gamble. The total commitment is reportedly a nine-figure sum, though both parties declined to provide financial specifics.

Group Black debuted last June with an initial spend of $75 million from GroupM, but the pledge from P&G is the largest single investment that the company has received, co-founder and CEO Travis Montaque confirmed. By the end of the year, the collective aims to deploy $500 million in Black-owned media.

The 30-person team will use the investment to advance its mission of strengthening the Black media landscape, a goal it has pursued using a two-pronged approach: building out Group Black Media, its ecosystem of members, brands and creators, and growing Group Black Ventures, its accelerator for investing capital and infrastructure into Black-owned media brands.

“The Black-owned media industry is still in its most nascent stages––it’s small,” Montaque said. “And the reason it’s small is an issue of access: access to investment and access to opportunities. That’s what Group Black was created to solve.”

With Group Black Media, the company collates independent Black publishers into a collective in order to meet marketers’ preference to transact at scale. By operating as a unified bloc, the collective enables both parties to achieve their goal: Brands support Black-owned media and reach a sizable readership, while publishers increase their advertising revenue.

“Our goal at P&G is to have the number one brand in every category among Black consumers, so we intend to be the number one spender in Black media,” said senior director for multicultural media at P&G Charlotte La Niear. “Group Black helps us overcome our biggest challenge in that effort, which is a lack of available inventory.”

In its effort to grow rapidly and secure substantial media investment, Group Black has struck a number of collaborations in its first year of operation, including a joint venture with the PMC brand She Media in November. Its partnership with P&G officially debuted this month with a South by Southwest activation that featured the brands Charmin and Bounty, but the multi-year deal will extend into linear, OTT, digital audio and print channels as well, La Niear said.

Reaching Black consumers through Black media

In the summer of 2020, the murder of George Floyd and the racial reckoning that followed encouraged brands to devote larger portions of their budgets to supporting Black-owned media and businesses. 

But Montaque and his co-founder Richelieu Dennis saw that, despite the best interests of these buy-side actors, there were too few ways for agencies and brands to commit substantial spend to Black-owned media.

They founded Group Black to solve that problem, both by creating a vast pool of available inventory through the collective, as well as creating an accelerator that aims to incubate growing Black-owned media companies.

The company has four main goals, Montaque said: Build the next generation of innovative media brands that are Black-owned; drive scalable investment into Black-owned media; equip member companies with best-in-class technology; and invest, both capital and expertise, into those companies.

The committed spend from P&G reflects not just the traction Group Black has seen in its mission, but also its appeal to marketers. 

“When brands come to work with Group Black, we want to show them that, if done well, they can drive impact in both business outcomes and community outcomes,” Montaque said. “P&G is a material example of that.”

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