Officially established by President Gerald Ford in 1976, Black History Month has taken on even greater prominence in recent years following the nationwide protests in the wake of George Floyd’s murder in 2020 in Minneapolis. With consumers showing an increased emphasis in supporting companies that support black communities, many brands have launched dedicated Black History Month campaigns.
As we close out this month, Plan B wanted to highlight a few recent Black History Month brand campaigns that we found particularly of note in celebrating diversity and inclusion.
The first campaign is “Dream in Black,” launched by AT&T in 2020 to create a multi-channel Afrofuturistic lifestyle platform to uplift African culture and communities. One of the biggest initiatives this platform created is known as “Black Future Makers,” an annual ongoing contest that honors individuals who have paved the way for black culture in the past and for the next generation of black achievers. The reason this campaign stands out among other branded efforts during this time is the fact that it’s more than just a one-off. By giving $10,000 to a new future maker every month, AT&T has established itself as an ongoing champion of real change in black communities.
The next campaign is “Future 22” by McDonald’s, in which 22 dynamic black leaders share stories of the work they are doing today to create a better tomorrow. While the creation of this campaign to tell stories about how black leaders are working to create change in their communities is a powerful effort, what makes McDonald’s truly golden is the extension of this campaign through a scholarship program, “Positively Golden.” Featuring a dedicated Instagram page and video series narrated by Keke Palmer, this program awards $500,000 to students attending historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). By supporting education efforts for black students all year round, McDonald’s is making authentic commitment and impact.
The third campaign is Target’s “Black Beyond Measure,” which was launched in 2022. To begin, Target created a Black Beyond Measure hub on target.com to amplify and celebrate black voices by showcasing more than 1,000 products from black-owned brands. Target then pledged to spend more than $2 billion with black-owned businesses by 2025 in order to attempt to “create more equitable experiences for their black guests, and use the company’s size, scale, and resources to create economic opportunity for black owned businesses that extend outside of the brand itself.”
Furthermore, as an extra element on their Black Beyond Measure hub’s collection, Target partnered with historically black colleges to create an HBCU Design challenge in which winners had their artwork and graphics printed onto items that were then sold on their site. And Target didn’t stop there. As an extra bonus in this campaign, Target created a scholarship program that will provide 1,000 first-year students at more than a dozen HBCUs $5,000 in scholarships, mentoring, internship and networking opportunities.
Plan B celebrates these marketing efforts, as well as the many other brands working to create a real impact for black communities during Black History Month and every month.