In 2009, Sherman Kizart, managing director of Kizart Media Partners, received an explosive email that offered proof of racism in the advertising industry.
The email was so controversial that he was forewarned by the sender: “It’s important that you understand what you do with that email.”
Kizart shared his story of how he turned a whiteout into one of the biggest gains for African American agencies in recent memory during the 40th annual Rainbow Push & Citizenship Education Fund Annual Conference, held in Chicago.
“The email was from one of the largest automotive companies advertising and media agency. In the body of that email was the directive how this automotive would spend its media dollars. They would be advertising in over 50 markets across the country for a period of 5 to 6 months … in cities where we are,” he said.
At the bottom of the email was in clear bold writing: No African American, No Urban to be Included.”
Video: Listen to what Sherman Kizart did to change a no urban advertising buy directive into a 49 percent increase in urban advertising buys.