Seattle Company, advertising college students promote native black-owned companies for Black Friday

Another agency is trying to take advantage of Black Friday shopping to promote black-owned companies.

DNA Seattle agency has partnered with the VCU Brandcenter's graduate marketing program for #BlackBlackFriday, an online and social program designed to help local black-owned businesses during the post-Thanksgiving shopping spree to help prevent such businesses from going down in 2020 The initiative follows a campaign by the Chicago agencies OKRP and Geletka's "Black Shop Friday" campaign to promote black-owned companies in Chicago.

"Brandcenter and its students believe that civic engagement is at the heart of everything we do," said Vann Graves, who joined VCU Brandcenter as Executive Director in 2018, in a statement. "In our work as communicators, marketers, and creative problem solvers, we have a responsibility to support and nurture communities that need an enhanced voice through brands and branding."

According to a study by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, in the early days of the pandemic, 41% of black-owned businesses across the country closed, while black-owned businesses closed twice as fast as other small businesses.

"Black-owned companies are often at a disadvantage from the moment they open their doors, if they are ever able to overcome the barriers to entry into entrepreneurship," said Nana Dadzie, strategy student and project lead at VCU Brandcenter. in a statement. "As a college student learning to solve problems for brands, I saw no better opportunity to help business owners who look like me – with the same dreams as me – at times like these."

The program encourages consumers to show their support for local black-owned businesses by sharing their purchases or the stores they have shopped at by posting “#BlackBlackFriday” digital stickers on Facebook and Instagram that are being shared by the I Voted ”sticker. A BlackBlackFriday website contains links to aggregated lists of black-owned stores that Seattle shoppers can assist.

DNA Seattle brought in a team of students from the VCU Brandcenter Graduate Marketing program to work on the initiative. A team of art directors, copywriters, strategists, UX designers and others developed the online activation, branding, website and sticker activation for “#BlackBlackFriday”.

VCU Brandcenter design student Danielle Loleng said in a statement that the campaign's art direction was inspired by 90s hip-hop and black television.

"We pulled from shows like Martin and In Living Color and wanted to have the feel of a cookout to convey the tone of familiarity, fun and community," she said.

In a statement, Chris Witherspoon, President and Chief Growth Officer of DNA Seattle reiterated the initiative's mission to keep black-owned companies alive during the pandemic and holiday season.

"As the students wrote on the website," this year is an opportunity to create Black Friday not about deals and bargains, but about dreams, community and opportunity, "he said.

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