The Cars Black Consumers Really Love

recently released study from marketing company NewMediaMetrics that I wrote about yesterday detailed some of the brands and media companies that African American and Caucasian consumers are most emotionally attached and loyal to.

One interesting result the study found was the very high African American loyalty to Lexus and Mercedes Benz. Lexus was the brand that blacks were most brand loyal to and Mercedes was number three.

The only brand white consumers were loyal to was the brand of car that has stereotypically been ascribed to black consumers, Cadillac. Part of the reason Lexus has been so successful is that they have made a serious effort to target black women.

A 2009 article in Direct Marketing News detailed Lexus’s efforts beginning in 2008 when the company teamed up with multicultural ad agency Walton Isaacson:


“[T]he target audience represented an intersection of three particular niches – affluent consumers, women and racial minorities – that are often relegated to separate slices of the marketing pie.

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‘You can't rely on any single avenue to get your overall message across, but definitely with the African-American community, you have to show that you want to invest in that community," says Mary Jane Kroll, senior advertising administrator of the multicultural division of Lexus.

“Engagement events are a really effective way to do that because they help provide an authentic experience with the brand.’”


According to a similar study from another company called Strategic Vision, African American buyers top three luxury brands are Lexus, Mercedes and Inifiniti. The NewMediaMetrics measured emotional attachment on an 11-point scale, while Strategic Vision measured emotional response on a 1,000-point scale.

In both studies, American manufacturers made the top of the list for African Americans’ preferences in non-luxury brands, but for luxury it seems that black consumers prefer international brands. In the Strategic Vision study the purchasing values or trends of a person's ethnic group were shown to be important factors to consider when creating advertising for them.

"Attitudes, images and personal values ranging from desired security and trust to displaying one's individuality and success are distinctive in that they differ in the strength or magnitude of their importance among ethnic groups," said CEO and Strategic Vision founder Darrel Edwards.

With African Americans holding an estimated $1 trillion in buying power, it may be time for American brands, especially the Big Three headquartered in Detroit, to step up and start positioning their brands to get the attention and emotional attachment of African Americans.

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