The American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s) recently issued a “Fair Play Charter” to its members, in an effort to “to recommit to fair and equitable treatment of minority media owners,” according to a statement by the organization.
The Fair Play Charter was issued in response to perceived “no Hispanic”/“no urban” directives in the media-buying process, which “describe a practice in which agencies and the brands they represent make media-buying decisions that are non-inclusive of media owned by or targeted to African Americans or Latinos,” the statement said.
Louis Jones, the executive vice president of Media & Data for the 4A’s, said that Sherman Kizart, the managing director of Kizart Media Partners, and other industry insiders raised 4A’s awareness about the lack of clarity around some of the decision-making practices in the media buying process. Jones said that, as head of a media agency and as a member of the Media Leadership Council in 2011, he was familiar with the undercurrent of “no urban” dictates.
Jones said that these situations happen from time to time and that it was important for the 4A’s and its members to recommit to fairness in their business practices.
“It is important that we remain cognizant of unfair treatment and not let it affect industry practices or societal perception,” Jones said in a statement about the charter. “This is a great step toward raising the bar in the media community.”
Founded in 1917, the 4A’s is the leading authority representing the marketing communications agency business, according to the group’s website, and “it serves 740 member agencies across 1,400 offices that control more than 85 percent of the total U.S. advertising spend.”
In the statement about the charter, Kizart said that it was a privilege to work with the 4A’s executive leadership team and their Media Leadership Council to develop the Fair Play Charter and work toward creating equal opportunity access and equal consideration for all media.
“It’s an important step toward helping to create a level playing field in the trillion-dollar media landscape,” said Kizart.
Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr., the president and CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association, said that the NNPA welcomed the announcement about the charter and 4A’s commitment to diversity and inclusion in the advertising industry.
“We believe that this can be a game changer for increasing awareness about the importance of fairness and equity in how advertising agencies conduct business,” said Chavis. “African American media companies play a major role in raising public awareness not only on the issues that affect the African American community, but also on those companies and products that affect the quality of life of 47 million African Americans.”
The NNPA is the oldest and largest trade group representing more than 200 African American-owned media companies that reach more than 20 million readers in print and online every week.
Jones said that a collaboration between 4A’s and the NNPA could lead to any number of business opportunities and added that engagement between 4A members and African American owners of media companies could be a great thing.
“The NNPA is looking forward to the engagement that will be a fulfillment of the commitment announced by the 4As in the ‘Fair Play Charter,’” Chavis said.