Companies promote giving back in Black History Month

CHICAGO: A number of companies are promoting giving back to local communities in their campaigns to celebrate February as Black History Month.

CHICAGO: A number of companies are promoting giving back to local communities in their campaigns to celebrate February as Black History Month.

Coca-Cola, which has been celebrating Black History Month since 1978, launched a national campaign February 1 that encourages consumers to “Be: Be Heard. Be Driven. Be Legendary. Be Giving.” It includes advertising; events across the country; and outreach to trade publications, black publications, and media in certain local markets, said Lori George Billingsley, director of community and multicultural communications for Coca-Cola.

PRecise Communications is aiding its efforts. “Additional resources are being leveraged in 14 metro areas,” Billingsley said. R&B artist Musiq Soulchild will be at events, encouraging kids to participate in an essay contest, as well.

Other companies are also focusing on Black History Month. At Jewel-Osco, a Midwest food and drug retailer owned by SuperValu, students from the Washburne Culinary Institute are cooking samples for an in-store promotion to spotlight the retailer's black vendors.

It kicked off the 10th Anniversary of its “Taste of Black History” on January 27 with the students creating dishes from black-owned companies Reggio's Pizza and Magnolia Spice Teas, among others.

The campaign is about creating awareness of the products, said Karen May, communications manager for Jewel-Osco, but also supporting the community. Jewel-Osco is also donating to nonprofits.

RJ Dale Advertising and PR, Jewel-Osco's African-American AOR, is helping with media relations, targeting radio, print, and TV.

At Southwest Airlines, the carrier has made Louis Freeman, who became its first black chief pilot in 1992, available for interviews during the month. It is also participating in events with educational nonprofits across the US, said Olga Romero, PR specialist for Southwest.

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