WASHINGTON: The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is launching a national campaign this year backed by PR efforts to build awareness and membership among 21-40 year-old African Americans.
The organization has hired Maryland-based agency Renegade to create advertising. PR will be done in-house with campus-focused outreach. NAACP has about 300,000 members.
Traditional elements include print advertising and direct mail, including a postcard and a membership renewal brochure. Ads, to run in 10-to-15 magazines, and currently in Fortune, and NAACP's publication, Crisis, feature Rosa Parks and includes the tagline: "Join. Give. Do More!"
The move reflects an effort by NAACP's new president, Bruce W. Gordon, former head of Verizon retail markets division, who joined NAACP in 2005, to put renewed emphasis on marketing. "The main focus, though, is PR including traditional outreach," said John C. White, director of communications. Efforts include gaining access for Gordon on TV and radio. He is currently is a regular on the Ed Gordon Show, a bi-coastal public affairs show on NPR, and appears frequently on such syndicated radio programs as Tom Joyner's. Gordon replaced Kweisi Mfume who had been a US Representative from Maryland.
The agency has also hired a new director of youth and college division, Stefani Brown White said that NAACP, which has about 200 college and university chapters will "use those chapters to get through to college students." Brown will be traveling extensively to campuses this year, said White. "People will see a lot of her this year."
Currently, NAACP is leading an effort in Baton Rouge to halt an April 22 election that it says will violate voting rights of those displaced by Katrina. The organization, seeking for a vote postponement, is pushing for regional voting offices in diaspora-heavy regions nationwide.
Last week the group held a rally comprising college students and Houston-based evacuees on the Capitol steps and at Southern University in Baton Rouge. White said the rally was covered by local affiliates and Fox networks. On Saturday the group participated in a large march in New Orleans organized by PUSH.