August 14, 2009

"No Urban Dictates" Lives On - Mini Cooper Ad Agency Gets Caught in an Email - We Don't Want to Advertise to Black Consumers

"Non Urban Dictate" (NUD) is a "supposedly" illegal practice that essentially means that a company is not interested in the Black consumer. Instructions are usually implied orally or left unsaid, no one sends this kind of stuff in an email anymore.

A NUD label means that a company does not want their marketing and advertising materials placed in media that claim an "urban" audience (or in other words to African American consumers) as their main target.

In the advertising world, companies feel that there are legitimate reasons for them not to use urban radio. For example, African Americans may not index high in certain categories or that a company's strategy is to market to the Black consumer down the road after they have established a strong position in their primary target.

Now comes a five-word line in an email from a Los Angeles agency buyer seeking proposals for a Mini Cooper radio commercial is seen as the latest evidence that the decades-old “No Urban Dictates” lives on.

Here's part of the email:

MARKETS-BOSTON-HOUSTON-DC-BALTIMORE

Formats-Rock, News, Alternative, Sports, Talk

Length: 30’s

Dayparts-All

No combos or urban formats.

The buyer tells stations, “No combos or urban formats.” Public advocates say it shows why an FCC compliance officer is needed. In a letter to FCC chairman Julius Genachowski, the Minority Media Telecommunications Council executive director David Honig writes, “If the Broadcast Nondiscrimination Rule remains unenforced, NUDs will continue to compromise minority broadcasters’ ability to serve their communities."

So what are the long term effects of this? Advertising agencies will avoid placing their ads on urban stations like V-103 in Atlanta or WHUR in Washington, despite the fact that these stations are many times number one in overall ratings in their cities. MMTC calculates dictates cost minority stations more than $200 million a year.
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