Cannes Lions

Shop the Art: celebrating Black-owned businesses

GOOGLE, Mountain View / GOOGLE / 2021

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Overview

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Overview

Background

While searches on Google for “Black-owned businesses” rose 600% from 2019 to 2020*, those intentions weren’t leading to spending. A stunning 41% of Black-owned businesses closed in the early months of COVID-19 (vs. 17% of white businesses).*

These businesses needed genuine help in the form of sales, but there was no convenient way for consumers to shop Black-owned businesses. Shoppers had to spend time and effort combing through curated lists or small, specialized marketplaces.

We wanted to bridge the gap between search and sale to drive revenue for these businesses. We launched a Black-owned business badge that merchants could add to their listings on Google Shopping. Instead of requiring the extra step of checking a listicle or going to a separate marketplace, our customers now see the badge while they shop.

The problem was no one knew the badge existed.

*https://www.nber.org/reporter/2020number4/covid-19-small-business-owners-and-racial-inequality

*https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?date=today%205-y&geo=US&q=black-owned%20business

Idea

We created a new way to shop Black-owned businesses, and then created a new way to tell people about it.

Searches on Google for “Black-owned business” rose 600% from 2019 to 2020*, so we set out to bridge the gap between search and sale to drive revenue for Black-owned businesses. We launched a badge that merchants could add to their listings on Google Shopping to identify them as Black-owned, so that customers could now see the badge while they shopped.

But no one knew the badge existed. To generate awareness, we chose the most visual medium; a work of fine art, and then made it shoppable online. This was the first-ever shoppable art piece featuring products made and sold by Black-owned businesses. This breakthrough format, which then drove to a landing page, made shopping Black-owned businesses easy, interactive and most importantly, drove sales.

*https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?date=today%205-y&geo=US&q=black-owned%20business

Strategy

Our target audience were those who wanted to support Black-owned businesses, but they were only doing it irregularly, or when it was a big conversation in culture. We unearthed two key reasons why:

1) People only thought of a few categories when thinking of Black-owned businesses

2) Shopping is largely driven by convenience, and there was not an easy way to identify a business as Black-owned

Our strategy was to show that Black-owned businesses cover a range of categories, and that finding them was as easy as looking for the Black-owned badge.

To raise awareness of the badge, we needed to breakthrough in an emotional way, and remind consumers to keep their eyes open. So we partnered with a Black artist and entrepreneur to tell this story visually. The painting, and subsequent film, was the answer.

Execution

We partnered with Black, mixed-media contemporary artist Amani Lewis to bring the work of art to life. Together, we selected seven products from a diverse array of Black-owned businesses to be featured in the painting. Amani used their signature process of photography, digital manipulation and accents of paint and glitter to create a one of a kind, dynamic work.

Consumers could view and shop the painting on a custom landing page, with the badge highlighting the products sold by Black-owned businesses. After seeing a dress or vase beautifully depicted in the artwork, a consumer could purchase the item in a few clicks.

We ran the campaign during February’s Black History Month, when the country’s attention and awareness were heightened. This ensured that these Black-owned businesses could be easily found while there was a strong desire to support them. We drove traffic to the page through three main channels: PR got the word out, digital media focused on cities with more interest in Black-owned businesses, and we created a powerful short-form documentary film for Google’s organic social channels. The moving video focused on Amani, and the impact that their work and Shopping has on Black-owned businesses that had previously been under-discovered.

The artwork and campaign drove real impact for the featured businesses: DIARRABLU saw sales increase by 30%, and Lonéz Scents saw sales increase by 106%.

Outcome

The campaign drove awareness lift for Google Shopping (see confidential information), and generated positive press coverage, including a FastCompany homepage cover story on the innovation of the shoppable artwork.

More importantly, the businesses featured saw amazing lift in traffic and sales, YOY. Lonéz Scents saw an 8,900% increase in traffic to the product featured on the shoppable painting by Amani. The overall store had a 106% sales increase as compared to January 2021 and saw a 7% lift in social followers. 3rdEyeView saw a 14% lift in traffic. DIARRABLU saw traffic double and sales increase around 30%.

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