Ads Up Advertising to engage McDonald’s on spending with Black Media Executives with Black-owned media companies pressure food chain

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By Jonathan Maze/IT News Wire

Ads Up Advertising, Inc. which owns Inglewood Today has pledged to engage fast food giant Mc Donald’s which has come under fire from Black owned media operatives regarding their biased spending practices.

“While I don’t find this news surprising, I do see McDonald’s as the just the latest example of biased spending practices that has crippled Black own media, more specifically community newspapers for years,” said Willie Brown, owner of Ads Up Advertising, Inc.

Brown continued; “We will not stand by idly and will support whatever movement to influence McDonald’s and other corporations to do what is right by our constituents which are served by our company.”

Saying they are “not surprised that both Black employees/executives as well as the Black franchisees are suing McDonald’s for racial discrimination,” a group of media executives on Tuesday requested a meeting with the burger giant’s CEO in a bid to get the company to increase its spending with Black-owned media.

The request came in a one-page advertisement in newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune and the Wall Street Journal, signed by the executives of the country’s largest Black-owned media companies.

The first signatory is Byron Allen, the founder of Allen Media Group and the owner of the Weather Channel who last week sued McDonald’s for $10 billion, arguing that the company spends only a tiny fraction of its ad budget on Black-owned media.

“Chris Kempczinski, president and CEO, please stop the racism against Black-owned media companies by McDonald’s,” the ad’s headline said. 

Others signing the letter include Earl “Butch” Graves,” the CEO of Black Enterprise, Roland Martin, the CEO of Nu Vision Media, Munson Steed, CEO of Rolling Out, Todd Brown, founder of Urban Edge Networks, Don Jackson, founder of Central City Productions and Paula Madison, principal owner of The Africa Channel.

“Over these last 20 years, McDonald’s has spent approximately $17 billion in advertising/promotion and very little went to Black-owned media,” the ad says.

McDonald’s last week said it would increase its spending on diverse-owned media to 10% by 2024 from 4% today. The company also said that it would increase spending with Black-owned media specifically to 5% that year from 2% now.

That announcement came the same day that Allen and his Entertainment Studios filed its lawsuit against the Chicago-based burger giant. The lawsuit said that McDonald’s pigeonholed his company as one that targets only an African American audience—even though the company owns networks such as the Weather Channel.

The lawsuit argues that McDonald’s has two tiers of ad spending, one for a general audience and one for a Black audience, and that the latter gets a tiny fraction of the company’s overall spending.

The complaints about the company’s ad spending come as McDonald’s has faced lawsuits from executives and current and former franchisees, arguing that the company’s policies in recent years have been discriminatory.

The letter from the media companies on Tuesday argues that McDonald’s should spend 5% to 15% of its advertising and marketing on Black-owned media. It requests a one-hour Zoom meeting between the companies and Kempczinski and other McDonald’s board members.

“To be clear, this concerns Black-owned media and not minority-owned media, because ‘minority’ includes White women and large corporations like McDonald’s often hide behind and tout their minority/diversity records while continuing not to do business with Black-owned media companies,” the ad says.

“Chris, as president and CEO of McDonald’s, it is time for you to provide real economic inclusion for Black-owned media companies. We are publicly asking you to stop the systemic racism by McDonald’s against Black-owned media companies.”

The letter also says that Kempczinski should “resign” if the company’s efforts don’t improve. “Chris, we and others firmly believe that if you continue to hold the position that Black-owned media does not deserve meaningful economic inclusion and we are not worth meeting with, then you and your board should resign, effective immediately,” the letter says.

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