Black Pound Day campaign aims to boost black-owned businesses

Campaign created pro bono by Ogilvy Roots and WPP Roots.

Black Pound Day – an initiative that encourages shoppers to support black-owned businesses on the first Saturday of every month – has launched a campaign to support entrepreneurs during Black History Month.

Created pro bono by Ogilvy Roots and WPP Roots and launching today (Saturday), “The people behind the label” features social assets to promote five black-owned businesses: Afro Pop Socks, 222 Vegan Cuisine, Kay Davis Art, fashion label Vitae London and haircare brand Afrocenchix – all of which appear in Black Pound Day’s directory.

The campaign also includes a collection of Black Pound Day stickers, which can be used across Instagram and Giphy to support businesses online.

Running throughout October, the work was created by Natalie Narh, Smita Mistry, Yolanta Boti and Gareth Clarke. Adspend was donated by Group M.

Black Pound Day was founded by DJ Swiss in an attempt to amplify the inequality experienced by black communities throughout the UK.

“The Black Pound Day team were delighted to be in partnership with Ogilvy Roots,” DJ Swiss said.

“They are a group of dedicated individuals, who were tone-conscious and attentive to what we needed. Combining our creative and strategic ideas allowed us to accomplish a campaign we were happy with.”

Customers who buy from black-owned businesses on the directory are invited to send their receipts to the Black Pound Day website in order to calculate a monthly total, with the initiative raising £24,031 in August.

Jai Kotecha, head of social and content at Ogilvy UK and executive sponsor at Ogilvy Roots, said: “Roots' partnership with Black Pound Day and working with black-owned businesses directly to amplify what they have to offer is so important to help support and empower these communities.”

In December 2019, research from The Black Pound Report (created by Creative Equals’ learning and cross cultural director Lydia Amoah) found that 66% of black, Asian and minority-ethnic people felt dissatisfied with representation in TV ads.

In a Campaign article, Pitch & Sync senior music supervisor Jumi Akinfenwa wrote of black culture’s impact on pop culture as a whole: “We’re not to be feared – there is strength in numbers and the ‘black pound’ is lucrative.”

Ashleigh Johnson-Palmer, chair of Ogilvy Roots, said: "Black Pound Day is such an important initiative that we are so proud to have been a part of with our sister WPP Roots networks.

“Supporting black-owned businesses and investing in the black community can help shift the necessary narratives, attitudes and structures to ensure their independence and prosperity. Those are especially important in facilitating the fruitful lives black people deserve."

So far, Black History Month has seen creative works from ITV and The Black Farmer, both of which aim to challenge underrepresentation of black people in British culture.

Rachael Corson, co-founder of Afrocenchix, added: “The way to correct economic oppression is with economic empowerment and Black Pound Day does exactly that.”