Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Black men in advertising


from left:
Geoff Edwards, Keith Cartwright, Feh Tarty, and Jimmy Smith


I've been actively following the whole advertising world for about 2 and half years or so now, and after going through Creativity magazine, reading ADWEEK, looking through award annuals, etc, it seemed as if you had to be a white guy with black framed glasses and a scruffy beard to be in advertising. So, in the February 2008 issue of Creativity (Creativity's 50 issue), where they were honoring the top creatives of the year past, I saw an illustration of a black guy and my eyes lit up. It was Geoff Edwards, former co/ECD of T.A.G. San Francisco, and now co/ECD of Fancy (San Francisco). I later found out he is also from Detroit, and actually went to high school a couple of blocks away from my house in Detroit. Since then, my eyes lit up more and more. In July, during a portfolio review at Wieden and Kennedy, NY, creative director of Brand Jordan, Keith Cartwright, critiqued my book (that was a pretty big deal to me). We also talked about the Jordan XXs that I wanted, and how he had a bunch of them. Then, Feh Tarty of Wieden and Kennedy, London got on my radar after I saw that he'll be one of the judges at the ANDY awards this year; and most recently the GCD of Gatorade, Jimmy Smith of TBWA, Los Angeles, after hearing him discuss the "G" campaign on adage.com.

If anyone is wondering why I'm blogging about this, it's because I think advertising (which has made huge leaps and bounds already) needs to continue be more diverse because it is a global language that is being spoken, and the perspectives from all races, religions, and backgrounds need to be in the conference room when working on an ad campaign.

I apologize if I'm leaving anyone off the list, which I'm sure I am; but I hope to be adding to this list more and more as time goes on.

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