GOOGLE ZOO, New York / GOOGLE / 2021
We wanted to continue to fulfill our brand promise of ‘helpfulness.’ In 2020, everyone needed some help, but particularly small businesses.
Digging in, we found Black-owned businesses were disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. A stunning 41% closed in its wake, more than any other racial group in America.
Knowing the holiday season would be critical to their survival, we decided to flip the focus of the biggest shopping moment of the year—turning Black Friday into Black-owned Friday.
Our brief was simple, yet incredibly challenging: How do we cut through the noise of Black Friday, one of the busiest shopping days of the year?
Our objective was twofold. We wanted Black-owned businesses to adopt the new Black-owned business badge to their Business Profile on Google Search and Maps to make it easier for consumers to support them. And we wanted to drive consumers to shop from Black-owned businesses for their holiday shopping.
We created an initiative to promote real change and support of Black-owned businesses. We co-opted the biggest shopping moment of the year, to flip the focus (and most importantly funnel some of the massive amounts of spending) towards Black-owned businesses. Partnering with the U.S. Black Chambers, Inc., we reimagined Black Friday as Black-owned Friday.
To encourage consumers to shop from Black-owned businesses and cut through the noise of the holiday season, we decided to use a nostalgic throwback: the good ol’ jingle. We asked celebrated Black artists Wyclef Jean and Ari Lennox to write personalized jingles for real Black-owned businesses they loved, which we turned into animated videos created by Black visual artists, as well as Spotify tracks. Wyclef also created a Black-ownd Friday anthem and helped spread the word via press and social media about the value Black-owned businesses bring to their communities and the help they need.
We co-opted the biggest shopping moment of the year to flip the focus (and most importantly funnel some of the massive amounts of spending) towards small Black-owned businesses.
The problem was big enough that we knew we had to go after a wide and diverse audience, including those who may not have been attuned to BLM-related activism on this issue over the summer.
Our creative partnership with influential Black musicians and visual artists helped us reach entertainment fans, as well as mainstream and business press. We created animated videos for the jingles, which gave press outlets content to embed in their stories, as well as made the content more shareable on social channels. The jingles were also uploaded to Digital Service Providers (DSP) like Spotify as tracks and listed on the artists’ channels, putting our message directly in front of their fans.
The juxtaposition of beloved musical artists creating songs to promote small businesses they love is what made these jingles so compelling for consumers. The jingles were posted on the artists’ Spotify channels, garnering more than 4 million streams, driven in part by (organic!) placement on Spotify’s “Are & Be” playlist. We also turned the jingles into music videos, animated by Black visual artists, which have garnered 5M+ YouTube views.
We made this an ongoing campaign by launching in mid-October, each Friday highlighting a Black-owned business or resource for Black-owned businesses on Google social channels. We encouraged followers to share their favorite Black-owned businesses on social, providing sticker packs and social assets that consumers could download and share. We also encouraged businesses to add the Black-owned badge to their Business Profile, and consumers to search for Black-owned businesses. All of this was housed on a campaign landing page g.co/blackowned
The campaign garnered 80+ press stories in consumer and ad trade outlets, including CNN, People, AdWeek, and a 5 minute segment on CBS This Morning. With almost no paid support, we saw 830K visitors to the landing page, 5M+ total YouTube views, and 260M+ social impressions.
We impacted social conversation with a +300% increase in mentions of ‘black-owned businesses’ and social sentiment was also very high, 84% positive or neutral, despite politicization of the topic online. Excluding a spike during the BLM protests in July, Google Trends data showed that searches for "Black owned businesses" had a five-year peak on November 27 (Black Friday). Most importantly, we drove real impact for the businesses featured — GROUNDED (the subject of Ari Lennox’s jingle) saw a 3000% sales increase from Instagram traffic.