Linda Jefferson, senior vice president at Burrell has passed

With profound sadness, Burrell Communications Group announces the sudden and untimely passing of one of the agency’s cornerstones. Linda Jefferson, senior vice president of Group Media Services, passed away last week after a short illness. Jefferson began her career with Burrell in 1984, and in her nearly 40-year tenure firmly established herself as a principal of … Continue reading “Linda Jefferson, senior vice president at Burrell has passed”

Burrell names Khari Streeter as new Chief Creative Officer

Burrell names Khari Streeter as its new Chief Creative Officer, effective immediately. In this role, Streeter will lead the agency’s dynamic, award-winning creative teams in developing the strategic, impactful work that is the agency’s hallmark. A respected leader, creative visionary, storyteller and filmmaker with three decades of experience, Streeter most recently served as executive vice … Continue reading “Burrell names Khari Streeter as new Chief Creative Officer”

UPDATE: Burrell CCO Lewis Williams to join Weber Shandwick

Yesterday, Reel Chicago broke the story that award-winning Chief Creative Officer, Lewis Williams, had resigned from Burrell Communications. He will join Weber Shandwick as EVP, head of Brand Impact early next year. Terrence Burrell will take the helm as Interim Chief Creative Officer. In this role, Terrence will lead the agency’s creative teams in developing strategic … Continue reading “UPDATE: Burrell CCO Lewis Williams to join Weber Shandwick”

Burrell taps The Colonie for ‘Black Experience on Xfinity’

Burrell Communications recently returned to The Colonie, tapping the talents of editor Graham Chapman and the Chicago-based company’s design team for the multi-platform launch of ‘Black Experience on Xfinity’ (BEOX). The package of broadcast and social media spots introduces a first-of-its-kind collection of movies, TV shows news, and more celebrating Black culture. The campaign departs … Continue reading “Burrell taps The Colonie for ‘Black Experience on Xfinity’”

Burrell celebrates 50 Years of Black Storytelling

Burrell Communications Group announced today that it will honor its “golden anniversary” year by launching a new community engagement initiative, “50 Acts of Kindness.”  Created in tribute to 50 years of connecting some of the world’s most powerful brands with Black communities, the agency pauses at this milestone to express gratitude to the people, clients … Continue reading “Burrell celebrates 50 Years of Black Storytelling”

Burrell spot for Toyota Sienna celebrates spontaneity

The adventurous life awaits! “The Sienna Life” campaign, kicking off today, welcomes a refined and versatile minivan featuring bold design, available all-wheel drive, and enhanced fuel efficiency: the all-hybrid and all-new 2021 Toyota Sienna. The fully integrated campaign was developed against Toyota’s long-standing Total Toyota (T2) marketing model, fully considering the transcultural mainstream audiences across … Continue reading “Burrell spot for Toyota Sienna celebrates spontaneity”

Burrell wins Telly for McDonald’s “The Road to Golden”

Burrell Communications Group (BCG), a leading national agency specializing in multicultural communications reaching the Black consumer market, earned second place, Bronze Honors at the 2020 Telly Awards for the McDonald’s USA branded content series, The Road to Golden. Created in partnership with Urban One, the video series is part of McDonald’s Black & Positively Golden … Continue reading “Burrell wins Telly for McDonald’s “The Road to Golden””

Burrell taps ESPN’s Ryan Smith to moderate Town Hall

Award-Winning Burrell Communications Group Taps ESPN/ABC News Correspondent Ryan Smith to Moderate Virtual Town Hall Event, “Black Lives Have Always Mattered to Us” Burrell Communications Group has announced that it will host a virtual town hall, “Black Lives Have Always Mattered to Us,” on Thursday, July 30 at 1 p.m. CT. Moderated by ESPN/ABC News correspondent Ryan Smith, the … Continue reading “Burrell taps ESPN’s Ryan Smith to moderate Town Hall”

Burrell wins Gold National ADDY and Publicis Cannes-Do

Leading multicultural agency Burrell Communications Group has earned top industry honors from the American Advertising Federation – a Gold National “ADDY” for the Comcast/NBC Universal digital campaign, “Visions of King.” Launched to celebrate Martin Luther King Day, the platform featured an interactive digital mosaic of the legendary civil rights leader constructed with thousands of inspirational … Continue reading “Burrell wins Gold National ADDY and Publicis Cannes-Do”

Burrell supports Girl Scouts’ Virtual Cookie Booth

Burrell Communications is showing their love for Girl Scout Cookies by supporting the organization’s new Virtual Cookie Booth. By posting a green square to their Instagram account, the agency is in solidarity with The Girl Scouts of America– and with the Scout’s relief efforts during COVID-19. When in-person cookie booths and door-to-door sales for the scouts … Continue reading “Burrell supports Girl Scouts’ Virtual Cookie Booth”

Burrell posts powerful COVID-19 video on IG

During her appearance on CBS’ Face the Nation earlier this month, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot told host Margaret Brennan while the novel coronavirus COVID-19 has impacted the United States in unthinkable ways, the virus has been “devastating” for black communities. This can be attributed in part to the underlying health conditions that disproportionately impact people … Continue reading “Burrell posts powerful COVID-19 video on IG”

Rebecca F. Williams, VP/Group Creative Director, Burrell

Rebecca F. Williams, VP/Group Creative Director at Burrell Communications, joins the 2020 Reel Chicago Black List, a celebration of African-American creativity published during Black History Month. The Reel Chicago Black List includes Global Mixx founder Mary Datcher, McDonald’s US Marketing Director Lizette Williams, and filmmaker Rhyan LaMarr. To view the archives, click here. Rebecca F. … Continue reading “Rebecca F. Williams, VP/Group Creative Director, Burrell”

Burrell, Colonie team up for new Toyota campaign

The exploits of the fun-loving fictional ‘Powell Family’ are featured in the engaging social media + broadcast campaign   Burrell’s new multi-platform social media and broadcast campaign for Toyota centers around the fun-loving fictional Powell Family and ‘slice of life’ moments that inspire spontaneous family adventures enjoyed in the comfort of their 2018 Toyota Highlander. … Continue reading “Burrell, Colonie team up for new Toyota campaign”

The education featured in Burrell’s “Love Lessons”

Burrell Communications’ Love Lessons campaign for the Toyota Camry is more than just a marketing triumph. Created with the African American consumer in mind, it connects with anyone who has a thing for cars, music, humor, and romance. Consisting of nine videos that urge consumers to love the Camry “for all the wrong reasons,” the … Continue reading “The education featured in Burrell’s “Love Lessons””

The Mill, Burrell, Cow Lamp, Obamas, Wakanda news

Live action director and VFX supervisor Ergin Kuke joins The Mill+ Chicago Ergin Kuke will soon begin working his LA-honed, box office savvy as Creative Director for The Mill+ Chicago, according to a press release issued today.     Kuke has notched an expansive variety of experience since relocating to the States from his native … Continue reading “The Mill, Burrell, Cow Lamp, Obamas, Wakanda news”

“A-List” Burrell, Russell Stover, Zapwater, box office

Burrell among Chicago shops on Ad Age’s annual A-list While some were out shopping for mattresses or watching Marvel’s Black Panther for a third time on President’s Day, Ad Age dropped its annual “A-List” issue of the best agencies, and some Chicago shops made the list. We’re not surprised. We’ve been covering them all year. … Continue reading ““A-List” Burrell, Russell Stover, Zapwater, box office”

Burrell named AARP Supplier of the Year

Burrell Communications Group received 2017 “Supplier of the Year” honors from the American Association of Retired People (AARP) during a celebration at the Kimpton Hotel Monaco in Washington, D.C. on November 15. As multicultural agency of record for the nonprofit organization, the Michigan Ave. firm helps nearly twelve million people over the age of 50 … Continue reading “Burrell named AARP Supplier of the Year”

Burrell and the new Toyota Camry ‘Strut’ for pizza

Although the Toyota Camry has traditionally been perceived as a “vanilla” kind of ride, the 2018 model’s bold look inspired a striking multi-channel campaign from several agencies, including Burrell Communications Group.

Titled, Strut, it highlights emotions as consumers become compelled to drive the new Toyota Camry for all the “wrong” reasons.

Tom Burrell inducted into the One Club Hall of Fame

Iconic advertising pioneer, Tom Burrell, whose illustrious career transformed both the way people of color were portrayed in marketing communications, as well as their roles within the industry itself, will be inducted into The One Club Creative Hall of Fame on September 18.

Burrell joins Susan Hoffman, David Lubars, Rebeca Méndez and Diane Cook-Tench as honorees.

Burrell “flips the script” on new campaign for Toyota

Face it, when you can point to the classic One Show Books as the reason you got into advertising, you can pretty much predict what’s going to happen in most spots.

If I haven’t just fast-forwarded by and actually stop to look, most of the time out of sheer horror, I can usually predict what line the person in the spot is going to say next.

Don’t worry advertising, I can do this for movies as well.

Hootenanny, Burrell help Walmart on Mother’s Day

Hootenanny’s Nikki Vappenski helped Walmart set a new standard for Mother’s Day by editing a series of spots set to Bruno Mars’ hit song, “Just the Way You Are.”

Directed by Sasha Levinson and created by Chicago’s Burrell Communications and Houston’s Lopez Negrete Communications, the sixty-second version opens at the moment when a mother greets her toddler in the morning.

A montage follows, and the children appear to grow older in each new scene. Portraying love, pride and devotion, it forms a seamless tribute to motherhood in footage that plays like a dream.

Former Burrell execs produce a warm-hearted short

A pair of Burrell Communications alums turned their talents to narrative film, producing the short “Raggedy Man,” a seasonal, lighthearted tale of a homeless man begging food in neighborhood diner, who catches the attention and eventually the heart of a beautiful woman. 

Burrell wins Lottery’s minority business

Burrell Communications bested three other minority agencies to win an initial two-year, $6.4 million Illinois Lottery contract to provide advertising and PR targeted to African Americans. The contract provides for two one-year renewals.

Carol H. Williams Advertising, E. Morris Communications and Flowers Communications were the three other finalists in the review for an urban agency that began in February.

Publicis shops to withdraw from Cannes next year

It seems odd that a French firm would poop on the party known as the Cannes International Festival of Creativity, but here we are.

According to an AdWeek report, a recent memo circulated within the Paris-based holding company Publicis announced that the firm’s 2018 cost cutting strategy will include “eliminating all award/trade shows for the next year.”

Presumably, the no-show declaration applies to Leo Burnett, Burrell Communications, Digitas and Lapiz, which are among the dozens of subsidiaries in the Publics network.

McDonald’s ends four-decade run with Olympics

There will be no more gold…en arches for the Olympics as the fast food giant, effective immediately, has mutually parted ways with the IOC.

In a surprise move, McDonald’s Corp (Chicago agencies: We Are Unlimited and Burrell Communications) severed its 41-year-old alliance three years early. In a joint statement delivered June 16, the two organizations severed ties as the fast food giant continues to re-evaluate and focus on its core business. This, along with rising Olympic sponsorship costs and declining TV ratings, made for a combo platter of reasons for the separation.

Two Chicago agencies win ANA Multicultural Awards

The work of two Chicago agencies won the 16th ANA (Association of National Advertisers) Multicultural Excellence Awards, out of 33 nominees, at ceremonies Sunday in Los Angeles, climaxing the three day ANA oulticultural & Diversity conference.

McDonald’s and LimeGreen Moroch won the Grand Prize for two 30-second spots, “Slang” and “All Nighter,” and McDonald’s and IW Group of Hollywood won the Asian prize for the spot “Did you Eat Yet?”

The print prize went to Comcast Xfinity and Burrell Communications for two “Black History Month-The Next Greatest of All Time” ads.

Gamebeat’s stimulus offer; free agency demos

After 10 years as a commercial and videogame music house, GameBeat Studios landed its first car commercial, an animated spot for Toyota Yaris and agency Burrell Communications. It will air in mid-January.

“We went for something that was very youthful, a bit techno, a bit electronica, funk and even a little house music style,” said Darryl Duncan, GameBeat owner/composer.

Ad veterans form branded entertainment firm
to capitalize on emerging media opportunities

Three advertising veterans have formed a new branded entertainment company as a one-stop shop to create, produce and distribute content for proliferating new media outlets.

FranMar Entertainment, LLC is led by Colin Costello, formerly of Burrell Communications who teamed with Susanna Matukas, executive producer/director and Surita Mansukhani, music relationships and licensing.

9Rooftops welcomes Jason Uzarraga as Associate Creative Director

9Rooftops welcomes Jason Uzarraga as an Associate Creative Director bringing over 20 years of experience in content development, video, design, experiential marketing and social and digital media to the role. Based in the Chicago office, Uzarraga has already begun providing forward-thinking creative solutions to meet the strategic needs of several 9Rooftops clients. He will play … Continue reading “9Rooftops welcomes Jason Uzarraga as Associate Creative Director”

McDonald’s celebrates Black History with Future 22

McDonald’s has launched Future 22, a new creative campaign that celebrates the work of 22 young, gifted and Black leaders whose passion and talent are creating meaningful change in communities across the country. The integrated campaign by Burrell Communications starts today and will run through summer, featuring TV and radio spots voiced over by award-winning actress, … Continue reading “McDonald’s celebrates Black History with Future 22”

Toyota’s Corolla Cross ad is a musical masterpiece that feels just right

Nothing beats the satisfaction you get when things just work effortlessly, moving with you in complete harmony. Packing that pleasure into one flawlessly choreographed spot, Burrell Communications and In & Out Productions are showcasing Toyota’s new Corolla Cross – a vehicle in which everything feels ‘Just Right.’ Directed by Daniel Azancot, the musical masterpiece stars … Continue reading “Toyota’s Corolla Cross ad is a musical masterpiece that feels just right”

The Best of Chicago Advertising in 2021

So, here we are at the end of another year. In 2021, we experienced more freedom from the pandemic during the spring and summer as cases lowered, but here we are, back in a kind of partial quarantine as the omicron variant spreads. While many businesses asked their teams to return to the office, advertising … Continue reading “The Best of Chicago Advertising in 2021”

ONE School opens applications for Fall in Chicago

Following a successful first year, ONE School, the groundbreaking free portfolio school for Black creatives, has opened applications for its Fall 2021 programs run out of Atlanta and Chicago. The results-oriented online program has already made a substantial contribution to adding diversity to the industry: six cohorts run out of Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles and … Continue reading “ONE School opens applications for Fall in Chicago”

McDonald’s commits to diverse-owned production houses

Over the next four years, McDonald’s and Owner/Operators are accelerating the allocation of advertising dollars to diverse-owned media companies, production houses and content creators. McDonald’s total investment in diverse-owned partners – including Black, Hispanic, Asian Pacific American, Women and LGBTQ-owned platforms – will more than double, moving from 4% to 10% of national advertising spend between 2021 … Continue reading “McDonald’s commits to diverse-owned production houses”

2020 in Review: Top Chicago advertising campaigns

It’s hard to remember back in February 2020, when the Kansas City Chiefs bested the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV and Parasite was winning Best Picture, no one was talking about COVID, the election and Black Lives Matter. We had no idea we were only a few weeks and months away from all … Continue reading “2020 in Review: Top Chicago advertising campaigns”

Havas Chicago bolsters Executive Leadership team

Havas Chicago announces the appointment of two key executives to round out a dynamic and diverse leadership team with proven abilities to drive the agency’s future growth and success. Lilia Arroyo Flores joins Havas Chicago as chief strategy officer and Maisha Pearson joins as chief client officer. “At Havas Chicago, we’re focused on operating as … Continue reading “Havas Chicago bolsters Executive Leadership team”

CAF Honors Renetta McCann of Publicis Groupe

In continuing recognition of Renetta McCann, chief inclusion experience officer at Publicis Groupe, whom the Chicago Advertising Federation (CAF) honored with its 25th Silver Medal Award earlier this year, advertising industry leaders kicked off a special, three-part virtual event last week to highlight McCann and her important role in the community. The CAF Legacy & Leadership Series … Continue reading “CAF Honors Renetta McCann of Publicis Groupe”

How did Blacks get into advertising anyway?

Jim Glover has worked for general market and black advertising agencies and his work has always been on the cutting edge, which many believe is why he has won so many accolades in the biz. Jim is now the founder, President, Creative Director/writer of MultiCultural Creative Consultants (MCC), author of the thriller novel, Mad Man and a … Continue reading “How did Blacks get into advertising anyway?”

AICP takes ‘A Look Forward: Agency, Production & Post’

When will what passes for ‘normal’ return? When will agencies be able to mount more traditional shoots? How does one make up for the missing synergy of the edit suite? And who’s missing lunch?  These were some of the questions kicked around by the six Chicago agency executives from the creative and production ranks who … Continue reading “AICP takes ‘A Look Forward: Agency, Production & Post’”

AICP panel discussion on navigating the road ahead

AICP Midwest presents:A Look Forward Partners in Production: Agency, Production, Post Thursday, May 14, 20203pm CST via Zoom AICP panel discussion on navigating the road ahead when production resumes. AICP National Board Members/Moderators: Lisa Masseur, Executive Producer/Founder, Tessa Films, AICP Midwest Pres./National Board Craig Duncan, Managing Director, Cutters Studios, AICP National Board ALSO READ: AICP … Continue reading “AICP panel discussion on navigating the road ahead”

Jay Thomas, marketing executive

Jay Thomas, Account Director for Equator Design, joins the 2020 edition of Reel Chicago Black List, an annual celebration of African-American creativity published during Black History Month. The Reel Chicago Black List includes ‘The Chi’ cast member LaDonna Tittle, house music pioneer Vince Lawrence, and filmmaker Rhyan LaMarr. To view the archives, click here. JeWayne … Continue reading “Jay Thomas, marketing executive”

Colorist Jennifer Gaida makes The Colonie a one-stop shop

The Colonie continues to grow its roster of talent and services with the addition of Colorist Jennifer Gaida. The hiring of the creative and technically savvy talent marks the launch of the Chicago-based company’s new color grading division, rounding out the one-stop editing, design, and postproduction boutique’s full-roster of high-end services and talent. Gaida exited … Continue reading “Colorist Jennifer Gaida makes The Colonie a one-stop shop”

Chicago creative industry celebrates diversity

The Chicago Advertising Federation’s Summer Diversity Mixer celebrates a wave of the future that’s been here all along Besides motivating consumers, increasing social impact, and moving the nation forward, diversity is fun. It makes people happy to get along. When combined with food, drink, and music, it becomes the Chicago Advertising Federation’s Summer Diversity Mixer. … Continue reading “Chicago creative industry celebrates diversity”

Cramer Krasselt panel talks about “Changing the Narrative”

An industry group discussion helps launch a new chapter on diversity and inclusion in advertising Cramer Krasselt’s Changing the Narrative panel discussion on February 26 was a journey into the complexities of being Black in America. For nearly an hour, Burrell Communications Chief Creative Officer Lewis Williams, Inclusion Nation Founder Michelle Silverthorn, Creative Consultant Mark-Anthony … Continue reading “Cramer Krasselt panel talks about “Changing the Narrative””

Toyota changes the game in Super Bowl LIII commercial

Female football scholarship winner Antoinette “Toni” Harris redefines what it means to be a hybrid in new RAV4 spot Toyota returns to the 2019 Super Bowl with a spotlight on two game-changers – the all-new 2019 RAV4 HV (RAV4 Hybrid) and powerhouse female football player Antoinette “Toni” Harris. The Super Bowl spot, which will appear … Continue reading “Toyota changes the game in Super Bowl LIII commercial”

Graham Chapman promoted to Editor at The Colonie

Talented “game-changer” has spent the past five years growing within the Chicago company’s ranks The Colonie has announced that Graham Chapman has been promoted to editor, continuing the Chicago-based postproduction company’s long tradition of nurturing extraordinary young talent and developing its next generation of editors from within. Chapman joined The Colonie in 2013 as an … Continue reading “Graham Chapman promoted to Editor at The Colonie”

Esther Franklin named Ad Woman of the Year

  Franklin will be honored at a ceremony held in the fall     (Chicago — 28 June 2018) The Chicago Advertising Federation is proud to announce that Esther “E.T.” Franklin, Executive Vice President, Managing Director of Strategy and Cultural Fluency, Spark Foundry, has been selected as its 2018 Advertising Woman of the Year. This … Continue reading “Esther Franklin named Ad Woman of the Year”

Lewis Williams named to AdWeek’s Creative 100 List

AdWeek recently listed Lewis Williams, Chief Creative Officer of Burrell Communications Group, on the 2018 Creative 100 List. Honored for his leadership in developing first-class collaborations to produce award-winning campaigns, Lewis Williams is recognized amongst notable leaders in advertising, entertainment and art, both locally and abroad. Other creatives listed include acclaimed filmmaker, Ava Duvernay, rapper … Continue reading “Lewis Williams named to AdWeek’s Creative 100 List”

New creative to get your week going — 05.08.18

For your viewing pleasure, here’s a collection of inspiring spots and trailers that got Reel Chicago’s attention.   McDonald’s Agency: Burrell Communications Nothing really spectacular happens in this new breakfast spot for the fast food giant’s Sausage, Egg and Cheese McGriddles, but it just leaves you with a warm feeling as son hustles to meet … Continue reading “New creative to get your week going — 05.08.18”

Ferguson is CAF’s 1st African American Silver Medalist

Chicago — 30 April 2018) The Chicago Advertising Federation (CAF) awarded Fay Ferguson, Co-CEO of Burrell Communications Group, as the 2017 Silver Medal Award recipient. Fay is the first African-American woman and 22nd professional to receive the award. Nominated for outstanding service in the industry, both locally and abroad, Fay is among an elite group … Continue reading “Ferguson is CAF’s 1st African American Silver Medalist”

The Reel Black List: Jeff Morrow, Vocal Music Producer

Jeff Morrow is an accomplished singer, vocal producer, voice-over artist, arranger, voice coach and contractor. He is currently the vocal producer for the hit Fox TV show Empire. This past summer he worked as the vocal contractor and toured with Aretha Franklin. He has worked with Stevie Wonder, R. Kelly, Janelle Monae, Michael Bolton, Celine … Continue reading “The Reel Black List: Jeff Morrow, Vocal Music Producer”

The Reel Black List: Nathalynne McGinnis, Producer

Nathalynne McGinnis’ positive attitude and deep experience make her a joy to work with, and she is well respected in the industry. She is currently a freelance senior business affairs manager at Ogilvy/Chicago, but maintains her love of producing. Nathalynne began her career in the general advertising world at FCB/Chicago. She rose through the ranks … Continue reading “The Reel Black List: Nathalynne McGinnis, Producer”

The Reel Black List: Lewis Williams, Creative Leader

“There is no better story than life itself.” Lewis is a passionate, award winning creative leader and storyteller with extensive experience in total, ethnic and multicultural marketing. As a thinker across all platforms, digital and traditional, he thrives for both breakthrough and effective solutions. During his career he has created work for major brands such … Continue reading “The Reel Black List: Lewis Williams, Creative Leader”

Fay Ferguson, Urban Grind, The Avengers, Apple

CAF honors Burrell’s Fay Ferguson Burrell Communications tweeted that The Chicago Advertising Federation (CAF) named agency Co-CEO, Fay Ferguson, as the 2017 Silver Medal Award winner. Ferguson is the 22nd professional to receive the prestigious award. Nominated for her outstanding service in the advertising industry both locally and abroad, Fay is among an elite group … Continue reading “Fay Ferguson, Urban Grind, The Avengers, Apple”

“Batman vs. Superman?” Ad execs weigh in on the victor

As you undoubtedly know, “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice,” one of 2016’s most anticipated films – produced for a stunning $410 million — opens globally at theaters today.

Chicago is no stranger to the DC Universe, having first doubled as Gotham, in 2005’s “Batman Begins” and 2008’s “The Dark Knight,” and then morphing into Metropolis in 2013’s “Man of Steel.”

Omnicom Publicis Group to be world’s #1 ad firm

DDB and Leo Burnett aren’t rival agencies any more.  They will become sister companies in the merger of their respective parent companies, Omnicom Group and Publicis Groupe, which will create Omnicom Publicis Group, the biggest advertising firm on the planet.

The new global conglomerate, worth $35.1 billion, will have some 5,000 offices operating in more than 100 countries on five continents and employ 130,000 people.

Adman/screenwriter Colin Costello heads for L.A.

ADMAN AND SCREENWRITER COLIN COSTELLO is starting the New Year in a big way.  His new home base as of Jan. 8 will be Los Angeles, where he will continue to build on his successes as a comedy screenwriter over the past 10 years and use his advertising copywriting skills freelancing for an L.A. agency.

“I know there were false alarms about moving before, but this time I know it’s the right move for me.   I was told earlier this year that I used to take risks and I didn’t anymore. Well here we go. I’m taking the mother of all risks for 2013.”

IFO adds Raul Esparza as assistant managing director

THE ILLINOIS FILM OFFICE hired seasoned location scout Raul Esparza as assistant managing director/location manager, replacing Todd Lizak who officially retired in January.  He was asked to return to the IFO as a 75 day contractual employee to help interview prospective candidates for the vacancy and handle location scouting until his successor was hired.

MTV’s “Underemployed” series joins “Boss” here this spring

KELSEY GRAMMER WAS VISIBLY SURPRISED at winning a Golden Globe for “best lead actor in a TV series” for “Boss” was a surprise to him – after all, he was up against stiff competition – but not to fans of Starz gritty Chicago-set series “Boss.”

Grammer, who co-produces the show, thanked Starz’ bosses for greenlighting the series without a pilot.  This is Grammer’s fourth Globe to go along with his three Emmys.

“Boss’” second 8-episode series starts shooting March 5 at Cinestage studios, with hopefully many more to follow.   

‘The Playboy Club’ ratings lost in the competition

CRITICAL REVIEWS of the debut episode of the Chicago-set NBC series The Playboy Club were, to say the least, disappointing. It attracted a painfully low 1.6/4 rating in the 18-49 demographics, which translated to a 5 million viewers. 

In Playboy Club’s defense, it was a tough night for series’ openers with heavy competition from other networks’ new series’ openers and popular established shows.

June 21 Hip Hop Summit tells how to get in the game

The multibillion dollar Hip Hop industry is thriving. An entrepreneur who plays his cards right can hit the jackpot. Hopefully, he will share that wealth with his community. 

That’s the message that will be conveyed June 21 at the Hip Hop Summit sponsored by Rainbow Push at the Chicago Hilton & Towers.  

John Mitchell, Rainbow Push’s chief of staff, expects entrepreneurs between age 18 and 35, who are trying to break into hip hop, to attend. 

Filmworkers gains new services with Giannini Creative

Giannini Creative has pooled its resources with Filmworkers Club, giving agencies the convenience of working with a single creative partner across multiple media platforms.

The company has a full-time staff of 10 of the top advertising artists in the country and specializes in creative retouching, CGI for print, character development, animation, illustration and pre-media. 

“Public Enemies” stars due here June 12

A “PUBLIC ENEMIES” PRESS JUNKET by Universal Studios is scheduled for June 18 in Chicago, with the conference to be held at Union Station, we hear. A full complement of stars, including Johnny Depp and Christian Bale, are expected. There’s also buzz about a possible Chicago premiere of the movie, which is as it should be, right?

“Public Enemies” spent $25 million in Chicago and other parts of the state last year, filming the blockbuster crime thriller directed by Chicago native Michael Mann.

“Elm Street” underway at suburban schools

“NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET” began shooting last week at Elk Grove high school in that suburb, moving onto Hersey high in Arlington Heights. “Elm Street” producers cleverly gained the ability to move around to different high schools after signing a contract with Illinois School District 214.

District 214 covers Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Des Plaines, Elk Grove, Mount Prospect, Prospect Heights, Rolling Meadows and Wheeling.

WHO WILL THE LOTTERY PICK to be its multicultural ad agency? The three worthy contenders are Carol H.

Repositioned boutique rebounds stronger

After CD/art director Tony Williams took a hit when the agency with which he had partnered lost its major account, he reinvented his traditional Gavan agency as a creative boutique focusing on new media projects for small companies.

By adding “urban appeal” to the mix, his business has rebounded quite profitably for these difficult times.

Gavan was just underway as a traditional boutique when “we put all our eggs in one basket,” Williams says, by teaming with R. J. Dale Advertising and Public Relations in pursuit of the Illinois Lottery’s $105 million account.

Actress Helen Hunt directed a spot here

ACTRESS HELEN HUNT was in Chicago last weekend with Chelsea Pictures/L.A. to direct a 60-second spot for Frito-Lay’s new TrueNorth healthy snack brand that will air on the Oscars’ Feb. 22 telecast.

TrueNorth launched a consumer contest last summer for stories that described how they or someone they know had the pursuit of their life’s passion. The winner, out of 2,300 entries, will be featured in a spot and receive a cash prize of $25,000.

The Oscars’ spot will kick off the brand’s 2009 ad campaign which will highlight real people who pursued their life’s passion.

THE REEL THING: News & Notes

“PRISON BREAK” has broken through the ratings so strongly that Fox TV has given the go-ahead for nine more episodes for a total of 22. The producers are no less thrilled than all the locals benefiting from the business.

Break” is the first TV creation of producer Paul Scheuring, a feature screenwriter.

THE REEL THING: News & Notes

THE FOUNDATION post house expanded this week by moving into a full, 6,000-sq. ft. floor with seven editing rooms at 200 E. Ohio, from 2,800-sq. ft. and four editing rooms in the same building. That’s mighty impressive for being in business for just 18 months.

Owned by ace editor James Lipetzky and his wife, Samantha Hart The Foundation employs 10.

COLIN COSTELLO’S COMEDY sitcom pilot, “Friends like These,” was picked up by Black Family Channel’s new show, “Pilot Central,” debuting in October or November.

REELSCREEN: News & Notes

WARNER BROS. SETS MAJOR FEATURE IN CHICAGO. A remake of a Korean movie now called “Il Mare” (“The Sea”) will start shooting in mid-March and is expected to be here for four months. Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves star; Argentinean Alejandro Agresti directs. Location is a house presently being built on a lake in the Forest Preserves.

Chicago native David Auburn (“Proof”) scripted the story for Chicago. Production designer is Matthew Crowley. Production headquarters are located in the Sofitel Hotel.

Memorial services for producer Katie Hoban today

The Chicago production family was stunned and saddened to learn that 44-year-old Producer and Post-Production Supervisor, Katie Hoban passed away suddenly at the beginning of this month, on January 4, 2022. Katie was the daughter of Kathleen Johnston and Michael Hoban. Adjectives that come to mind when describing Hoban are “lovely and spirited,” “a positive … Continue reading “Memorial services for producer Katie Hoban today”

9Rooftops welcomes Derrick Rivers as VP + Creative Director

9Rooftops recently welcomed Derrick Rivers as VP + Creative Director. Rivers brings over 15 years of experience across several service accounts and categories, in both the general and multicultural segments. Rivers has already proven to be a valuable addition to the agency, working to bring creative solutions to life for several 9Rooftops clients. As a commercial artist … Continue reading “9Rooftops welcomes Derrick Rivers as VP + Creative Director”

2020 in Review: Mary Caddy of The Colonie

Editor’s Note: In 2020, the world changed right before our very eyes. Ad agencies, production companies and post houses were forced to adapt and begin a “new normal” working, living, exercising and entertaining out of home. Now that we have just entered 2021, we asked around our industry friends to reflect back on the year and … Continue reading “2020 in Review: Mary Caddy of The Colonie”

Burnett wins Agency of the Year from AAA

Congratulations to our friends at Leo Burnett and mcgarrybowen. Each agency took home three Gold statues from the American Advertising Awards which were announced April 28 virtually. Oh, and the agency at 35 West Wacker also took home “Agency of the Year.” Well done. Both agencies also took home awards in the “Best of” categories. … Continue reading “Burnett wins Agency of the Year from AAA”

Cox, FCB support small biz owners in new 360 campaign

In response to COVID-19, Cox Communications and FCB Chicago have created a 360-campaign (including TV, print, digital, social and OOH) designed to empower and support small business owners who are #MakingItWork. The campaign messaging focuses on making the new way of working work better for Cox Business customers. Rather than using the tactics in this campaign to promote … Continue reading “Cox, FCB support small biz owners in new 360 campaign”

Digital and data to drive McDonald’s new DDB agency

The bitter rivalry between DDB vs. Burnett. Publicis vs. Omnicom. Keith vs. Leo, for the billion dollar prize, brought to us by McDonald’s, with a cast of bleary-eyed creatives caught in between, has ended.

The winner, as we all know, is Omnicom and DDB, meaning for the first time in 35 years everything on the menu is going to be served up by one yet-to-be-created agency.

This wouldn’t be the first time DDB started an agency for a single client, having successfully launched Element 79 in 2001 for Quaker Oats.

Merger shouldn’t affect business, vendors speculate

Sunday’s announcement about New York-based Omnicom and Paris-headquartered Publicis Groupe intention to create the world’s largest advertising firm had the global adworld reeling, and quick to respond with many positive, skeptical and probing takes on the seismic news. 

Chicago’s ad/production community is also voicing its thoughts on how the pending gigantic, $35 billion holding company will/won’t affect them. 

Burnett and divisions win a colossal 74 ADDY Awards

The Chicago Ad Federation boasted it had 350 submissions for the recent ADDY Awards from local agencies and those entries were carefully considered by 25 top creatives from national pedigreed agencies. 

As a result of all this vetting, and no doubt based on the sheer volume of entries from Leo Burnett, it should have been no surprise that the Publicis giant had a colossal haul of 62 awards, including six out of the seven ADDY Bests.

CAF recognizes DDB’s Bob Scarpelli for 27 years of community dedication

The Chicago Advertising Federation will bestow its prestigious Silver Medal Award upon Bob Scarpelli for his 27 years of dedication to the Chicago advertising community.

Scarpelli, DDB Chicago chairman and DDB U.S. chief creative officer, will receive the award a June 1 dinner at the Cadillac Club at Soldier Field where at least 250 guests are expected.

Manuel producing as a one-stop shop

Spot producer Darryl Manuel finishing post on a doc about his musician father-in-law.