Top 2008 African American History Month Supporters Recognized On BlackHistory.com

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Wal-Mart, Alltel Wireless and Infiniti top the list of "Top Black History Month Supporters" from Lee Moss Media's BlackHistory.com.

February signifies the annual celebration of Black History Month, an occasion to recognize African American people and organizations making a difference in society past and present. Lee Moss Media's BlackHistory.com has identified the most prominent corporate supporters of Black History Month via advertising and marketing efforts.

Below are the top corporations in 2008 that have prevailed as leading contributors to the month's purpose. Rankings are based on a corporation's ad visibility and impact, campaign creativity, budget allocation and past Black History Month endorsements.

Top Ten Black History Month Supporters®:

RANK: 10 - Verizon
Verizon produced advertising that was targeted to Black History Month, though it was sparse, and lacked visibility. In past years, they have had larger Black History advertising campaigns. They, however, did not hit the mark this year.

RANK: 9 - McDonald's
McDonald's put out a creative campaign for Black History Month, and their campaign strategy persists year round. However, their campaign is not visible in all mediums and appears to be less and less promoted each year. In addition, their 365Black.com web site needs to be updated with more resourceful content. (http://www.365black.com)

RANK: 8 - KFC Corporation
KFC initiated a website that is devoted to the year-round celebration of Black-Americans. Even so, the site is not well publicized, and there weren't significant advertisements in 2008 for Black History Month like the company has delivered in the past. (http://www.kfc.com/pride360)

RANK: 7 - Target Corporation
Target developed an ad campaign distinctly for Black History Month this year, though it was solely Internet-centered, and not very visible. Their concept of personal histories of contemporary, popular Black entertainers was quite creative, as was the design. However, their campaign perpetuated the stereotypes that Blacks' only contributions to history and society are through sports and performing arts. (http://www.target.com/blackhistory)

RANK: 6 - Allstate Insurance The company didn't put out a significant Black History Month campaign this year, but Allstate makes the list because, since 2007, they've had a campaign called "Beyond February." As the title suggests, the company's goal is to market to and celebrate the history of Black-Americans all year, rather than spend a large portion of its marketing budget for only one month of the year and believe that was sufficient.

RANK: 5 - Buick (division of General Motors)
The company did an impressive job this year by teaming up with PBS and Ancestry.com to sponsor their Black History Month programming of "African American Lives 2". Buick also created a website component where visitors could research their genealogy. However, headquarters admitted little had been done to target the African-American market recently, and their site, while well-presented, was not largely publicized. (http://buick.ancestry.com)

RANK: 4 - Nationwide Insurance
During Black History Month, Nationwide launched a monthly cultural celebration and a speaker series. Although this aspect of the campaign was an internal investment, it did gain visibility through public relations efforts to the Black media. Nationwide also developed an informative and creative print ad set for Black History Month, that was promoted in several African American magazines.

RANK: 3 - Infiniti
Infiniti has been a prominent sponsor of featured black history content for years, and were responsible for the award-winning "Infiniti in Black" campaign. They have consistently supported black heritage through their long-running online campaign targeting HBCU students and alumni. They also showed their ingenuity by being an early adopter of online African American marketing.

RANK: 2 - Alltel Wireless
Alltel, in partnership with Maya Angelou, created a campaign for Black History Month wherein they awarded 10 scholarships for winning essays. This same campaign had success last year as well. Their advertisements were greatly visible, and the concept was honorable and creative. (http://content.alltel.com/o/wordsofwisdom)

RANK: 1 - Wal-Mart Stores
Wal-Mart leads the top of the list because of their consistency in allocating a larger budget to African American advertising through all media venues, and their creativity. Wal-Mart's latest online Black History Month campaign included interactive banner ads that linked to a flash-interactive website where visitors can trace their history and learn about great strides in Black History. Their campaign, by far, displayed the most energy and effort. (http://blackhistory.gh-walmart.com/)

Honorable Mentions:
Kmart (division of Sears Holdings)
This struggling company did the best with the budget they had to show that Black History Month and the African-American market should be highly regarded. Kmart may have spent more on their Black History Month advertising than companies of twice their size and revenue. The company created a website featuring events and workshops occurring in four major cities throughout the month. (http://www.kmart.com/blackhistorymonth)

Metlife Insurance
Metlife advertised specifically for Black History Month this year, though the print-only ads were far and few between. Maybe next year they will step up efforts, as their corporate office admittedly didn't do much to reach the Black community in 2007.

Kellogs
The company had visible and clever ads, but they declined to comment or give any details on their advertising efforts whatsoever for this press release.

American Family Insurance
American Family Insurance partnered with American Legacy Magazine to launch American Legacy Challenge, an African-American history trivia competition for high school students. The competition, however, took place in only three cities.

Coca-Cola
Year after year, Coca-Cola generates somewhat concentrated efforts to recognize Black History Month. This year, their campaign was announced during the Super Bowl. They were lacking, however, in any significant online or print promotion.

About Lee Moss Media
Lee Moss Media is a Columbus, Ohio-based online media powerhouse. The organization owns and produces the largest Internet network for African-Americans in the United States. A joint venture, the firm is the result of a collaboration between Dante Lee, founder and CEO of Diversity City Media and William R. Moss, founder and CEO of HBCU Connect.

For eight years, Diversity City Media (DCM) has been growing into a necessary online amalgamation of websites to fill a niche void for Black-Americans. DCM boasts a number of Internet titles, such as BlackPR.com, BlackNews.com, BlackSpeakers.com and BlackExperts.com.

Moss began HBCUConnect.com nine years ago with the goal of catering to the competitive but often overlooked population of students and alumni associated with Historically Black Colleges or Universities. With two glossy magazines published bi-annually, and an entire online community of over 480,000 current and former HBCU students, Moss continues to provide news, job opportunities, social and networking platforms and more to this market.

About BlackHistory.com
Lee Moss Media acquired BlackHistory.com in the fall of 2007, and the site was officially launched on February 1, 2008. The year-round site advocates "celebrating Black History Month every month," recognizing that "our history is your history." It seeks to serve people of all backgrounds, ages, ethnicities and classes with pertinent information regarding all aspects of Black history, including up-to-date, contemporary history-in-the-making.

BlackHistory.com can be used as an encyclopedic reference guide, yet it allows visitors to create a profile, add content, maintain a blog, connect with other members and, most importantly, become an active participant in the celebration and creation of Black history. By submitting articles about an event or person, for example, and posting it on the site, visitors are contributing their opinions and knowledge to Black history in a personal way.

BlackHistory.com is close to reaching the 200,000 member mark, and receives nearly 5 million page views each month.

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