Photography Provided by Giphy
The third day of #DEBlackHistory is on the topic of branding. Many may not realize it but there were some great and big milestones met in the advertising agency back in the day for African Americans by African Americans. Years ago, you wouldn’t see African Americans apart of any forms of marketing including television commercials nor magazine advertisements unless they owned their own print companies. Most television agencies did not see a reason to place black people into ads and that sort of thing because they did not see value in this race of people back then. One person that changed the game completely when it comes to seeing more African American’s on television commercials and other forms of advertising for one of the most major companies and brands would be Moss Kendrix. At the age of 31, Kendrix pushed Cocoa Cola to allow him to be the bridge between the company and black consumers. He figured he could change the way that Cocoa Cola was presenting themselves to the public in order to branch out to a whole new market of consumers. After many meetings and debates of why hiring Kendrix would be a great fit for the company, Kendrix ended up setting up the post war campaign after World War II to target the “negro market” as they referred African American consumerism back in the day.
What was highly significant about this particular historical figure is that he was able to change how higher up corporate figures viewed African American consumers. He shed light on how much the black dollar was worth plus the strength it had at the time towards keeping the entire economy going after the war. Before Kendrix came along, Caucasian corporate figures of Cocoa Cola seen the black dollar as a joke and did not believe that it held weight towards anything positive for their company as a whole. When you did see African Americans in advertisements during this time, and apart of the branding process of companies, it was always in a negative way. Most of the time they were always centered around slavery, segregation, prejudice acts and just flat out racism as a whole. Very similar to some of the offensive advertisements we have seen over the last couple of months, for example from H&M and many from the skin care brand Nivea just to name a few. Kendrix literally came in and changed everything. He added in African American people to advertisements. Regular African Americans, the hard working and family oriented African Americans that basically let the world know that black people were good enough for these particular roles in companies, especially for Cocoa Cola. The reason I went with Kendrix for this highlight in black history is because he changed the way society viewed African Americans apart of advertisements with major companies today. We were then looked upon as a flat out negative image for companies, someone who would negatively affect major branding, but after Moss Kendrix, the first African American Marketing Specialist’s influence we are now seen as regular humans and consumers who contribute to this economy we live in today.
Digital Illustration by @K_DougDE
Consuming America: Moss Kendrix, Cocoa Cola and the Identity of the Black American Consumer
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