Coleman partners with True North

New venture poised to target black, Hispanic and Asian American markets

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One of the nation’s leading African American advertising executives has been tapped to head an alliance of minority marketing firms crafted to reach African American, Asian and Hispanic consumers in one swipe.

“The demographic changes taking place in the U.S. today are the most dramatic since the wave of European immigration during the last century,” says Don Coleman, president and CEO of Don Coleman Advertising (No. 3 on the be advertising agencies list). Indeed, some accounts have the African, Hispanic and Asian Pacific American populations growing at seven times the rate of the general population. Taking note of this, True North Communications, a global communications holding company with worldwide billings of more than $12 billion, recently acquired a 49% interest in Coleman’s firm and created the alliance through its True North Diversified Cos. Dubbed the New America Strategies Group, the company Coleman will now help oversee reaches an audience with an estimated buying power of $1.14 trillion.

The alliance brings together SiboneyUSA, a leading Hispanic agency, Imada Wong Communications Group, which focuses on Asian consumers, and Stedman Graham & Partners. “African Americans, Asians and Hispanics together spend more than $1 trillion a year; it is hard for manufacturers and companies to ignore that kind of spending power,” says Coleman.

A veteran advertising executive whose clients include DaimlerChrysler, Kmart Corp., General Mills and Miller Brewing Co., Coleman believes New America Strategies Group is the first alliance of its type built from the ground up “to help larger advertisers succeed in this new environment.”

“We’re proud of New America Strategies Group’s pioneering role in forging a partnership of prominent multicultural marketing firms,” says Valentine J. Zammit, CEO of True North Diversified Cos. “Our ultimate goal is to help clients communicate more effectively with diverse market segments, including African American, Hispanic and Asian Pacific American populations.”

Kathryn Woods, vice president of global communications for True North Communications, believes Coleman will be critical to her company’s effort to reach minority consumers. “The days of broad-scale advertising alone are over because of demographic changes in the population,” says Woods. We have statistics showing the so-called minority will be the new majority by 2040, and clients recognize this vital growing sector in our society.”

According to some market industry data, by 2040 Hispanic, African and Asian Pacific Americans will be more than 50% of the population. In the next decade, about half of the U.S. population is projected to be nonwhite, and market research shows these consumers outspend nonwhites by huge margins and have greater loyalty to name brand items in the marketplace.

Heide Gardner, vice president of the diversity and strategic programs of the American Advertising Federation Foundation, said there are several things going on in the marketplace that make this is an ideal time for minority advertising firms that not so long ago experienced nothing but closed doors along New York’s Madison Avenue.

“Historically, general-market agencies targeted the general market and minority agencies focused on their niche because these entrepreneurs were not able to get in the door of the national

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