|A Wordsmith. A Game Changer. An Advertising Legend: Carol H. Williams
By: Emory Brown
I have had the pleasure of working with some of the best women of color in multicultural marketing for years. Work moms. Dear friends. Respected colleagues. Some sexy Creative-Vixens. (It’s a Mad-Man thing only Mad-Men would understand.) From my mentor, Kathleen Humphries, award-winning writer, Wal-Mart goddess of ink and one of the creative directors on Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign to Edye Deloch-Hughes, teacher, author, and wordsmith to many campaigns that have graced multicultural media for years and many more sisters who are just doing the “damn thang!”
Unfortunately, I’ve never had a chance to work with Carol H. Williams, CEO, Creative Director, Chicago’s “Ladies Advertising Champ” who wrote the beautiful tagline “Strong enough for a man. Made for a woman” for the Secret deodorant campaign. The line is a legend unto itself. An old man once told me that “Woman is God’s most magnificent creature because she was the last one He created.” However, I think God’s most magnificent creature is an advertising woman with a pen. And the American Advertising Federation thinks so too, because Carol H. Williams has been inducted into the AAF’s Hall of Fame.
Being a woman in the advertising game can be taxing. For a long time, marketing and advertising was dominated by men and in many cases white men who created historic campaigns that drove sales and made companies, stockholders, and even entertainment’s finest fortunes. However, in 1986, an African American woman by the name of Carol H. Williams launched an advertising firm with her name on the door just like the big boys Leo & Dave and pushed towards greatness.
Since that time CHWA has become of the country’s most progressive ad agencies with offices in major markets like Chicago, New York, and LA. She and her teams have swept the awards show with the work they’ve created for the U.S. Army, Nissan, Walt Disney, and many others. This has created endless opportunities for her to nurture other African American creatives and marketing professionals while also celebrating the beauty of African American culture and community. Carol and her team even keep it pimpin’ by retaining the Cadillac luxury account, which everybody knows in African American culture is a classic signature brand for Black luxury and status.
Carol is a testament to the beauty and power of “Black Branding” and is so deserving to be written into the pages of marketing history as someone all of our children who are interested in pursuing a career in advertising should study alongside of our other great pioneers. One day soon I hope to be right there in the pages of history beside her and my wish is that all kids of color who want to be CEOs of ad agencies dream to be in the pages of history next to Carol too. Congratulations Mrs. Williams for being the woman who went “Beyond Madison Avenue.”
Emory Brown is an award-winning creative director/writer whose mission is to spread the gospel of what great marketers can do when they put their heads together and work together for the greater good and not the bottom line. Working with many esteemed clients, his portfolio of work ranges in genre from conservative to ultra-modern including American Family Insurance, United Airlines, Mazda 6 and RX-8, Illinois Lottery, Tyson, Miller Genuine Draft, Nike Air Force 1, and Mercedes Benz, to name a few.
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