Note from BW of Brazil: The title of today’s article is based on the myth that Brazilian advertisers use whenever asked why they don’t feature more black people in their ads. The industry is quite obvious in the ways it chooses to portray black Brazilians. They either feature them in various stereotypical depictions, feature them in a group of white people, in the background or not at all. And these advertisers are quite blatant about not even wanting to see black people associated with their products. They are ignoring a huge potential market of consumers as black Brazilians are projected to have spent more than $1.5 trillion reais by year’s end, quite a figure for people who are believed not to consume. It is also impressive considering when this blog started back in 2012, black Brazilian buying power was $673 billion reais.
But my concern is this. Great, black Brazilians make up a huge spending base of buying power, but where are they spending their money and with whom? Does the money they spend benefit the black community? I already know the answers to this, because, although there many black entrepreneurs, they remain highly represented in the small business market and are far from competing with the huge stores, computer-oriented businesses and supermarkets, etc., where the real money is found and made. And in the end, if our money is not being circulated within our community, the spending power really means nothing. As I wrote a recent article, it is only when we can begin to pool our resources to benefit ourselves that we will begin to see the power of “Black Money”.
In 2017 black Brazilians will move more than R$ 1 trillion
By Silvia Nascimento
“Companies prefer to be racist rather than capitalist.”
This comment is by Raphaella Martins, Account Managers of J. Walter Thompson’s agency, during the II Fórum Sim a Igualdade Racial (II Yes to Racial Equality Forum), held last October 5 in São Paulo, seems to be an explanation above the reasonable to explain the lack of representation of blacks in Brazilian advertising.
The premise that “negro não compra” (blacks don’t buy) is easily belied by numbers. According to the Instituto Locomotiva de Ricardo Meirelles (Ricardo Meirelles Locomotive Institute), which was also in the event promoted by ID_BR, by the end of 2017, the black Brazilian community will have moved approximately R$1.62 trillion reais.
“Black Brazil would be the 11th country in the world in population and the 17th in consumption. If blacks formed a country they would be in the G20 of world consumption”
Other data from the survey show that blacks represent a group of 20 million people intent on buying home furniture, 12 million intending to buy a TV and 10 million planning to buy a Smartphone in the next 12 months.
There are many entrepreneurs losing business opportunity by not thinking about strategies that dialogue with the black community. And that goes beyond the black face in advertising. Honest purposes embrace your audience also with social actions, as we see great brands supporting projects for women.
The vision of black advertisers
Vagner Soares, art assistant at Artplan and his agency colleague, media analyst Letícia Pereira, spoke during the event about their professional experiences where they were always the only blacks in the agencies.
“I feel now that the changes are happening, they are small but very significant,” Leticia commented.
She and Vagner made a “manifesto” called Dear Artplan People to raise awareness of their work colleagues on racism and their nuances in a didactic way, taking into account that most are white and probably never reflected racist attitudes they commit on a daily basis without noticing.
“The white people do not think about doing us harm, the vast majority are unaware of the social issues in the country,” said Raphaella of JWT, one of the people responsible for implementing the 20/20 Program that selected a group of 20 black interns at the agency.
Consensus during the debate, which also included the adviser of Youtubers Egnalda Côrtes, was the fact that the presence of blacks in charge of power makes all the difference. Racist campaigns, such as the Dove campaign in the US, are signs that black casting doesn’t always show a real concern for diversity.