Business as usual in making media buys won't suffice in the next millennium. And the American Advertising Federation is counting on the auto industry to play a leading role in how advertisers make those adjustments.
The federation's newly formed business practices review committee held its first meeting July 15 in New York and was scheduled to meet again in August in Washington, D.C. The goal of the group is to come up with a statement of principles that may help advertisers understand the size and buying power of the multicultural market and how to make investments in that area.
The four-person committee includes David Bell, chairman of True North Communications. True North is the parent company for Bozell Worldwide, agency for DaimlerChrysler's Chrysler, Plymouth and Jeep brands. Sam Chisholm, CEO of Chisholm-Mingo Group, which handles minority accounts for various General Motors brands, also is on the committee.
The committee is not just window dressing, contends Heide Gardner, vice president of diversity and strategic programs for the American Advertising Federation. Its mission is to keep the 50,000 federation members, which include GM and DaimlerChrysler, informed and profitable.
'We see the changing composition of the American consumer base as a critical business issue,' Gardner says. 'Anything that could impede communication with consumers is a problem.'
The committee plans to present its findings to the advertising industry in February.
'The automotive industry is a huge variable,' Gardner says. 'If they begin to increase their use of targeting ethnic audiences, other big-ticket advertisers are likely to follow.'