As October heralds the start of Black History Month in the UK, The Drum takes a look at how brands are celebrating the Black British community in what has been a historic and troubling year.
2020 has been a decisive year for the Black community. After protests took place around the world following the murder of George Floyd at the hands of US law enforcement, people and brands alike are looking with fresh eyes at the systemic issue of racial inequality.
Black History Month UK is an annual event that celebrates the contribution made by the generations of those of African and Caribbean descent living in the UK, who have helped shape Britain's national and cultural life. And, as a month that celebrates Black history, 2020 is certainly one for the history books.
To kick off Black History Month UK, The Drum has pulled together the various initiatives and commitments brands are making this momentous year, which will be updated throughout the month.
See below how brands are celebrating this year:
The Black Farmer: 'Celebrating Black History'
To mark Black History Month, The Black Farmer is challenging the underrepresentation of Black people in the food industry, and its role in perpetuating negative stereotypes, such as in the case of Uncle Ben's rice.
The cross-supermarket campaign aims to raise £100,000 for the Mary Seacole Trust and the Black Cultural Archives, and has seen Tesco, Sainsbury's, Co-op, Marks & Spencer, Aldi, Lidl, Waitrose, Budgen’s, Ocado and Morrisons commit to in-store promotional space and a share of the profits.
: 'Celebrating Black History'
Instagram has partnered with some of the UK’s most iconic black voices to kick start a month of conversation on the platform.
Throughout October, influential Black British people will spotlight someone via IGTV on Instagram who has inspired them, shaped the black British experience, or who they feel deserves recognition. Alongside Toy Boy actor Ashley Walters who fronts the campaign, other notable people driving the campaign include the author of BRIT(ish), Afua Hirschcomedian, Dane Baptiste, the award-winning author, Yomi Adegoke and fashion designer Walé Adeyemi.
Research done by social app Bumble shows that more than 3 in 4 Black people in the UK (79%) think there is a lack of relatable images and stories about dating as a Black person in the UK.
Together with Metallic, and leading British artists, actors, athletes, entrepreneurs and activists, Bumble is working to better document Black Love. #MyLoveIsBlackLove aims to better represent the breadth of Black Love in a real and uniquely British way.
eThroughout the month of October, more than 30 Black British voices will share real, unscripted reflections on what love means to them.
ITV: 'It's All About'
Black culture is brought brightly into focus on ITV as viewers will see brand new on-air trails along with channel idents marking and celebrating Black History Month.
The creative work will complement newly commissioned programmes and content showing across ITV channels and platforms throughout October. The campaign draws on the rich contribution of Black individuals to British life and culture across a wide range of areas from literature, history and science to music, food and fashion to deliver a visually vibrant, upbeat and thought-provoking palette.
: 'It’s All About'
Gap: 'Black History Month Collection'
Meanwhile, Gap has linked up with four up-and-coming Black artists from across the globe to release a collection of collaborative and emotive T-shirts.
Featuring creatives from the UK, France and the US (Mario Hounkanrin, Melissa Hurst, Lo Williams and Stephennie Factor) each unique design represents what Black history means to them from their life experiences.
: 'Black History Month Collection'
Royal Mail: 'Royal Mail Black Postboxes'
Royal Mail has unveiled four special-edition black postboxes around the UK to mark the beginning of this year’s Black History Month.
The social media-activated postboxes are painted black, with a striking gold trim, and each features a figure of significance to the British black community, who has also appeared on a Special Stamp. Those featured include: Sir Lenny Henry CBE; Yinka Shonibare CBE RA; John Barnes, Nicola Adams and Marianne Jean-Baptiste
: 'Black Postboxes'
Depop: 'Black on Depop'
Celebrates the limitless creativity and culture of the Black community, 'Black on Depop' profiles three individuals who are both sellers and buyers on its platform. Within the video, they speak about the visibility of Black culture on Depop and their individual identities as Black creatives, and how that is expressed through style.
: 'Black on Depop'
Depop has launched its latest campaign today ‘Black on Depop’, celebrating the limitless creativity and culture of the Black Depop community.
The campaign was co-created with the Black Depop community – both on the app and in their teams – to make sure they’re defining their own agenda. Depop worked with Black-owned research agency On Road to make sure Black issues are central, and to prioritise casting all-Black talent so the community is seen, valued and appreciated. The team also worked with PAQ Works on the creative direction, and Out Since Tuesday for production.
This campaign spotlights the Black community on Depop as they celebrate self-love and continue to push the boundaries of defined cultural narratives. The video profiles three individuals who are both sellers and buyers on the Depop platform. Within the video they express what it’s like to be Black on Depop, and speaking to visibility of Black culture on Depop and their individual identities as Black creatives, and how that is expressed through style.
Ogilvy Roots UK: 'The People Behind the Label'
Ogilvy Roots has partnered with other WPP Roots networks including GTB, and GroupM on 'The People Behind the Label' - a campaign designed for Black Pound Day to mark Black History Month.
The campaign, which was created pro bono by the agencies, aims to point people in the direction of the Black Pound Day directory, where they can discover Black businesses to shop and to also amplify the Black-owned businesses featured in the campaign.
: 'The People Behind the Label'
In line with WPP’s commitment to help combat racial injustice facing Black and minority ethnic talent of colour, Ogilvy Roots has partnered with other WPP Roots networks including GTB, and GroupM to launch 'The People Behind the Label' - a campaign designed for Black Pound Day to mark Black History Month.
The campaign, which was created pro bono by the agencies, aims to raise visibility of blackpoundday.uk directory where people can discover Black businesses to shop and to also amplify the Black-owned businesses featured in the campaign. For the pro bono effort, the campaign will feature the following five businesses: Afro Pop Socks, 222 Vegan Cuisine, Kay Davis Art , Vitae London and Afrocenchix.
Black Pound Day, founded by Dj Swiss, was established as a solution-based approach to support the growth of the UK Black economy. The idea came as a direct and peaceful response to the systematic racism that creates an inequality for the Black community in the United Kingdom. Black Pound Day, which is an ongoing initiative taking place every first Saturday of the month, encourages consumers to switch their usual shopping destinations to local and online Black-owned businesses.
Promoting unity and financial growth for the Black community is especially instrumental in establishing a society that thrives across all industries and ethnicities. The campaign aims to encourage people of all backgrounds to promote and support Black-owned businesses and spread knowledge on how this can help the growth of the British economy.
Supporters that buy from Black-owned businesses can upload this receipt directly to the Black Pound Day website so the organization can calculate a monthly total. In August alone, the Black Pound Day initiative raised £24,031 for Black-owned businesses.
Creatives: Natalie Narh, Smita Mistry, Yolanta Boti and Gareth Clarke
Strategy Director: Shadi Sarresh
Business Director: Gugs Sarna
Account Manager: Ashleigh Johnson-Palmer
Social Campaign Analyst: Emeka Harker
To mark Black History Month, TikTok has unveiled #myroots, an in-app and out-of-home brand campaign that tells the stories of TikTok creators and artists as they celebrate their Afro-Caribbean heritage.
The campaign will feature singer and songwriter Cat Burns (@catburnss), football freestyler Jeremy Lynch (@jeremylynchofficial), personality and queer Creator Lily Rose (@itslilyrose), actor Michael Dapaah (@michaeldapaah_) and Bedford-based comedian Sherice Banton (@shericebanton).
TikTok has today launched #myroots, a new in-app and out-of-home (OOH) brand campaign to mark Black History Month.
Appearing across billboards and online, #myroots tells the stories of TikTok creators and artists as they celebrate their Afro-Caribbean heritage. The campaign will feature singer and songwriter Cat Burns (@catburnss), football freestyler Jeremy Lynch (@jeremylynchofficial), personality and queer Creator Lily Rose (@itslilyrose), actor Michael Dapaah (@michaeldapaah_) and Bedford-based comedian Sherice Banton (@shericebanton).
The campaign was created by TikTok's Creative Lab team in collaboration with Black employees, Black creators and Black creative talent, and will run for 4 weeks in October. Black talent collaborated on this campaign and creative, with bespoke music for the campaign by Carly & MARL, mural art made by artist Linnet Rubaya, and TopView and social films directed by influential poet and director Caleb Femi.
The #myroots campaign heroes the Black community both on and off the platform, aiming to encourage even more Black Creators to share their stories and allow everyone to learn about the individual experiences of those taking part. For the OOH placements, a personal statement is shared by each featured Creator about their heritage and what it means to them.
The OOH ads will be seen at iconic spots including Shoreditch High Street. Alongside prominent OOH placements across 182 sites in the UK, the campaign includes a mural in Camden Lock and on the Prince of Peckham heroing local Creators. With TikTok at its core, the campaign will also see a series of in-app activations such as Hashtag Challenges, Branded Effects, TikTok LIVEs and TopView ad takeovers. Social ads will appear on other platforms including Facebook, Instagram and YouTube across the month.
Creative: TikTok Creative Lab EU
Director: Caleb Femi
Photographer: Aiden Harmitt Williams
Music: MARL of Carly & MARL
Artist: Linnet Rubaya
Post-Production: Unit Studios
This list will be updated throughout Black History Month.