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Black Creativity Matters

Black History Month PS_blog_v1.2

Cactus is dedicated to bringing Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging to the advertising industry, and it has to start within the walls of our own agency. 

In honor of Black History Month, we want to celebrate just a few of the black pioneers that have shaped the advertising landscape of today. 

  • Georg Olden
    • Known for his work at CBS from 1945 to 1960 where he supervised the creation of the design and graphic identities of programs such as I Love Lucy, Lassie, and Gunsmoke. And who doesn’t know the beautiful and coveted Clio Awards statuette? - Olden designed it, and ended up winning it 7 times himself for outstanding achievements in art direction. 
  • Carol H. Williams
    • Creator of Secret’s iconic tagline, “Strong Enough For a Man, But Made For a Woman” not to mention the Pillsbury Doughboy’s giggle. Carol H. Williams was the first female and African American creative director and VP at Leo Burnett, and then went on to found the largest independently-owned African American agency in the US.
  • Frank Mingo
    • The first African American account executive at J. Walter Thompson, Mingo went on to be a VP, managing supervisor at McCann, where he was the driving force behind the introduction of Lite Beer from Miller (turning insights from a $20,000 research program into a multi-million dollar brand). Mingo was renowned for his strong and successful advocacy of market segmentation.
  • Tom Burrell
    • Burrell was one of the first black men in advertising in Chicago in the 1960s. He led award-winning campaigns for brands like McDonalds, and is known for being a “change agent in targeted marketing” in the advertising industry. His achievements earned him a spot in the Advertising Hall of Fame in 2004. Today the firm that bears his name, Burrell Communications, leads transcultural campaigns for a roster of global brands. 
  • Roy Eaton
    • Eaton was a prolific creator of ad music and jingles, including this classic for Beefaroni from the 1960s. He is cited as the first prominent black American in advertising, and the New York Times called him a “pioneer in the field of ad agency music direction” in an article from 1982. He worked in the business for over 30 years as a creative at Young & Rubicam, Benton & Bowles, and ultimately his own firm Roy Eaton Music. Eaton is an accomplished concert pianist and was inducted into the Advertising Hall of Fame in 2010.

These are just a few stories of impactful black leaders who’ve made advertising history. We have shared below more amazing articles highlighting some of these classic campaigns and achievements of some of advertising’s most famous black voices, as well as showcasing some of the black voices of today: 

Increasing diversity, equity, inclusion, & belonging are key to helping our agency, and our industry, grow and thrive into the future. That’s why we’ve partnered with the Denver Ad School to help create an incubator for creators of color through the Black Creativity Matters scholarship. Big thanks to DAD for leading the charge, and to all our agency friends for their scholarship contributions and commitments to increasing diversity.