Marketers Seek Multicultural "Magic"

The Association of National Advertisers recently held its Multicultural Marketing Conference, "which drew more than 300 attendees from companies such as McDonald's Corp., Sprint, Home Depot and Lexus." Earvin "Magic" Johnson told the conference that early engagement of communities of color resulted in brand loyalty. If "somebody beat you in, we're going to stick with them," he said. The former basketball star "is himself a major multicultural marketer," notes Laurel Wentz, "with 103 Starbucks outlets, 32 Burger King restaurants, AMC movie theaters, 12 gyms and other holdings in what he describes as 'urban America.' His next venture, aimed at using his urban community for social networking, is the early 2007 launch of Magic New Media, including both wireless and the web." Last year, Johnson partnered with the Omnicom Group firm Zimmerman to launch ZMagic, which specializes in multicultural advertising.