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Blacks in Advertising: A Platform Amplifying Black professionals in Advertising

By February 9, 2018 No Comments

Advertising is a beautiful and powerful sphere of life and Marketing. The industry is one that can claim it has the power and tools to change people’s minds, but it has one glitch, it’s not an industry that embraces diversity easily. For all the years and work that the Advertising industry has made on this earth, the inability to embrace diversity is one huge flaw it has.
In the last couple of years, however, Advertising has started trying to embrace diversity and a lot of people have been paving way for People of color to become visible in the industry, like Deddeh Howard’s project, Black Mirror wherein she recreated famous Fashion Ads with Black Models to point out lack of diversity.

black in advertising - BHMIn 2016 Blacks In Advertising launched as a Black History Month campaign to highlight the history of impactful Black professionals in the Advertising industry who paved the way for a more diverse industry, inclusive of all cultures. Blacks in Advertising’s goal is to amplify and empower Black professionals in the advertising, and media industries. BIA’s strives to accurately archive the history of Blacks in the advertising field, lift up the voices of Black professionals through the platform, and provide craft elevation opportunities.
The platform is a visual anthology of Blacks in Advertising who have paved the way for a more diverse industry that is inclusive of all cultures.

McGhee Williams Osse has performed nearly every job in advertising. She started her career in traffic at WSB-Radio in Atlanta soon leaving to pursue an opportunity as a copywriter and layout artist at Sears — her first “real” jobs after completing post-graduate course work in advertising at the University of South Carolina. Combining her creativity with managerial skills, she became a field-marketing manager for KFC, marketing manager for the General Mills Restaurant Group, and a marketing director for RTM, Inc. Since joining Burrell Communications in 1986, Osse has managed the Atlanta office as well as developed and maintained relationships with key accounts such as Verizon, P&G, American Airlines, Coca-Cola USA, adidas, Soft Sheen, the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Weight Watchers and Nestle. While ascending the corporate ladder at Burrell, Osse’s proactive, persistent and confident approach allowed her to assume responsibility for such critical agency functions as media, engagement marketing, research and account planning. She is also credited with starting the agency’s Yurban® marketing initiatives, which targets youth and young adults. Work under her watch has won acclaim from the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) three-years running for multicultural advertising campaigns with significant results, and the prestigious honor of “Multicultural Agency of the Year” as recently cited by the American Advertising Federation. Osse became an equity partner in the agency in 1996 and in 2004 with another long-time Burrell colleague, purchased majority ownership of the company from its founder, Tom Burrell. #BLKSINADV #WomensHistoryMonth

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Vita Harris, Chief Strategy Officer at FCB Global, has accumulated over 20 years of experience in the advertising industry. Vita served an integral dual role during the merger of Draft Worldwide and Foote, Cone and Belding (FCB). She was a principal member of the team that created the then, Draftfcb’s go- to-market strategy and helped launch the new agency model around the world, providing employee training, and contributing to the agency’s continued growth. Prior to the merger of Draft and FCB in 2006, Vita served as Executive Vice President and Director of Insight Services at Draft New York. There she pioneered a groundbreaking approach called Behavior Path Marketing which mines consumer insights to create fresh, relevant, and strategic marketing communications programs. Vita’s business acumen, passion and strategic thinking have helped transform many blue-chip companies and brands. She has developed innovative tools and techniques resulting in transformational strategies and high ROI for clients such as the UnitedHealth Group/AARP, Verizon, American Express, Bank of America, HBO, AT&T, Miller Brewing, the U.S. Navy, and Avis. She led strategy, planning and research for the 2010 Census campaign, designing a groundbreaking segmentation of the U.S., which yielded highly-effective, diverse audience-targeted strategies and tactics. This work was recognized by The Advertising Research Foundation, winning two David Ogilvy Awards including the Gold Multicultural. In recognition of her vast accomplishments, Vita was previously named one of The Network Journal’s “25 Influential Black Women in Business,” recognized as a 2010 ADCOLOR Award Legend, and was cited in the 2011 and 2016 by Black Enterprise as one of its “Top Executives in Advertising and Marketing.” Vita is staunchly committed to diversity and inclusion efforts at FCB, where she has served as the chair of the Education and Cultural awareness team and a member of the Executive Diversity Council. In addition, she serves as an advisor to FCB’s affinity groups, ensuring that diverse perspectives are fundamental to the agency’s culture and business. #WomensHistoryMonth #BLKSINADV

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Created by Candace Queen, this year, Blacks in Advertising and the Advertising Club of New York are partnering together, to shine a spotlight on Black Icons & Rockstar industry professionals who are currently driving impact within our space.

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