When Toyota Ignored the Black Press, One Columnist Had Enough

When Toyota Ignored the Black Press, One Columnist Had Enough

Black columnist chastises Toyota for buying ads in white-owned newspapers, but not in African-American ones.

Published July 1, 2011

William Reed knows how to do the right thing. He is a columnist for the Florida Courier newspaper and its stylish Web site.  In his recent Business Exchange piece he called Toyota out for the high-handed manner in which the world’s largest automaker has treated the Black press recently.


Reed took Toyota to task for thanking American car buyers for their support for the brand by purchasing pricey full-page ads that only appeared in white-owned newspapers.


This was despite the fact, Reed reports, that car marketing research data shows that Black consumers equal 10 percent of Toyota’s U.S. market share and 15 out of every 100 vehicles that Blacks buy is a Toyota.


The discrepancy is that in 2010, Blacks bought $2.2 billion worth of Toyota vehicles, but the automaker bought only $66 million in ads from Black companies to sell their products.


Advertising Age reported, Reed wrote, that ad spending on Black media remains about $75 million versus almost $10 billion for advertising in mainstream media. 


So, the columnist says “The Black Press of America has embarked upon a campaign to get companies that sell to Black consumers to recognize the value of using their publications as advertising mediums.”


His broadside is expected, and admirable, for a paper dedicated to “Sharing Black Life, Statewide.” It is also quixotic and he knows it.


The problem that all minority publications, and advertising firms, have is that some major goods and services corporations feel that they don’t need to work niche markets. They think that advertising in the general television, cable and, to a lesser extent, Web marketing can reach everyone that they want.


In an age of patient consumers and narrower margins, that may be an understandable, if foolish, approach. An automaker should want to make every sale it can in every market.  


The best way to reach that niche of buyers who pay attention to who advertises in their favorite publication is to buy ads in Black media. The decision is not based upon charity or altruism, but on the bottom line.


After all, the only thing in business that matters is staying in the Black, and the way to do that is to make more green, in every way possible. Are you listening, Toyota?

(Photo: REUTERS/Toru Hanai/LANDOV)

Written by Frank McCoy


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