General Motors Transforms Approach to Diverse Media Relationships

DETROIT – General Motors recently announced significant changes to the company’s model for partnering with diverse media, including diverse-owned and diverse-targeted media.

The changes address multiple aspects of the media ecosystem, including overall spend, spend distribution, measurement, deal structure and infrastructure development. The new approach will apply to a broad range of diverse media.

The company has adopted an action plan with five components:

  • Strengthened Commitment — Increased Diverse Media Spend – GM has increased its overall diverse media spend, including doubling its commitment for spending with Black-owned media to 2 percent in 2021 and 4 percent in 2022, with a goal of reaching 8 percent by 2025.
  • Deeper Engagements — Diverse-Owned Media Summit – On May 14, GM will hold a dedicated upfront with diverse media owners ahead of the traditional media marketplace. The summit will encourage existing and potential partners to submit an overview of their business for consideration by GM for deeper engagements beyond the summit, including a request for proposal. The process that will be used for the selection of media will be accredited by a third party to ensure fairness and transparency.
  • Sustainable Growth — Diverse Marketing Incubator Fund – GM is allocating $50 million over 10 years to support and scale diverse marketing companies. This investment will support sustainable growth and is incremental to GM’s media spend.
  • Increased Flexibility — Inclusive Measurement Rubric – With the benefit of input from diverse media, GM established measurement criteria that will allow for more flexibility based on the size and scale of the media organization. GM’s priority, in collaboration with diverse media, is to create a win-win for the diverse media companies and GM.
  • Expanded Opportunities — Prospective Partnering Analysis – GM and its media buying agencies will use a multi-factor analysis for selection of diverse media. The analysis utilizes new criteria for assessing capabilities, reach and analytics to drive more opportunity for diverse media.

“This action plan will transform our engagement model with diverse media in a sustainable way,” said Deborah Wahl, GM global chief marketing officer. “Over the course of several weeks, we met with many diverse-owned media organizations. We are grateful for the transparency and spirit of collaboration, which helped us frame this inclusive approach.”

The announcement follows GM’s pledge in June 2020, as part of the Alliance for Inclusive and Multicultural Marketing, to commit to equality, inclusion and systemic change in advertising.

Alfred Liggins, CEO of Urban One, said, “I applaud GM for taking the results of their thoughtful and robust discussions with a significant number of diverse media entities and then developing this thorough, bold and transformational plan to increase engagement with diverse media. Urban One is the leading platform to reach African American and Urban consumers, and we have been delighted with our long and successful partnership with GM. Today’s announcement will allow our platforms and other diverse media groups to create unique and customized ways for GM to reach their customer base.”

“The NNPA notes with appreciation a recent substantive discussion with General Motors Chairman and CEO Mary Barra and with other GM executives about establishing a strategic partnership between GM and the NNPA going forward, today in 2021 and into the future,” said Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., president and CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association. “The new GM action plan, including stated commitments to increase advertising spends with African American-owned newspapers and other African American-owned media, is good news for Black America. The NNPA represents 230 African American-owned media companies and we reaffirm our 50-year plus support from GM. Yet, the future looks much brighter today as a result of GM’s new transformative commitments and engagement with African American-owned media businesses.”