Commonground agency wins Verizon Wireless business

Commonground founders Ahmad Islam and Sherman Wright

MULTICULTURAL AGENCY COMMONGROUND, named Ad Agency’s Small Agency of the Year in 2012, has just become bigger and a more important player.  After a 3-month review, it won the African American work for Verizon Wireless, formerly with Global Hue. 

The 9-year agency, founded by Sherman Wright and Ahmad Islam, came to the forefront with the first Illinois Lottery Powerball spot under Lottery Superintendent Michael Jones’ administration that created positive buzz for both the Lottery and the agency.


Commonground will further bust out nationally when it returns to AMC’s return of “The Pitch” Aug. 15 at 9 p.m.  They will duke it out with 15 other agencies for 1-800-Fowers, Gibson Guitar, Fuller Brush Company and College Hunks Hauling Junk accounts.  


Three other competing Chicago agencies are The Monogram Group, Central Coast and Bee-line Communications of Libertyville.  Six of the agencies are located throughout the L.A. area, the others are from Nashville and Atlanta.


DOWNTOWN PARTNERS will be working PR firm FleishmanHillard’s Chicago office on a $35 million contract to market and promote enrollment in the state’s Health Insurance Marketplace, a key aspect of the Affordable Care Act. 

The massive outreach and ad campaign will give] individuals and small business a place compare and purchase private health insurance, starting Oct. 1.

ADVERTISING COMMUNITY SHORTS NIGHT at the Midwest Independent Film Festival Oct. 1 is calling for submissions from agency and production professionals by the July 31 deadline.  This is the 5th annual Shorts Night presented by AICP/Midwest and MWFF.  One minute to 120 minute shorts will be judged by top professionals from Midwest agencies and production companies and Community Shorts Night is always a lot of fun. 

MWFF’s next screening is Aug. 6 at the Landmark Century Centre Theatre, 2828 N. Clark.

CHANGING TIMES. Cramer-Krasselt promoted two top executives as it prepared a succession plan for the next generation of leadership.  The agency’s 25-year CEO/president Peter Krivkovich has moved up to agency chairman while chief creative officer Marshall Ross, joined the agency in 1995, becomes vice-chairman.

New president is COO Karen Seamen, another 25-year veteran, who was named Chicago office general manager in 2006.

A NEW COMPANY is Violet Media production company, recently formed by Melissa Cutlip, former 20 West development executive of programming, and her former Towers Productions’ colleague, Mark Josyln, Towers’ head of business and financial affairs for 11 years. 


sponsored by the Chicago 4A’s board of directors for young professionals, will hold its first networking party — Hatch ’13  — at Zed 451, 739 N. Clark, July 18 from 6-9 p.m. Tickets are $40 and may be purchased here. CCC’s mission, says publicist Steve Sapka who runs the Collective, “is to nurture Chicago’s  world-class creative community, with ‘creativity’ defined as advertising, design, communications, and all new/social media.”

AD WOMAN OF THE YEAR SUSAN CREDLE, Leo Burnett’s chief creative officer for almost four years since arriving from New York after 20 years at BBDO, is being honored at a luncheon celebrating her achievements Oct. 17 at the Hilton Chicago hotel – which means the Chicago Advertising Federation expects a huge turnout – starting at 11:30 a.m.

Since joining Burnett, Credle improved the agency’s creative profile by hiring sharper creative talent and focusing on work that helps clients build their brands.  Among the campaigns Burnett has developed under Credle’s are campaigns “Mayhem” for Allstate; “Happy Tales” for McDonald’s Happy Meals’ and Kellogg’s Special K’s “What Will You Gain When You Lose.”

BTW, Leo Burnett just won the 4As TruthBrief competition designed to improve advertising’s image and attract a new generation of talent to the advertising industry. 

Last month, the agency won eight out of 60 Gold Addys in the 2013 national Addy Awards – the only Chicago agency represented among the Gold winners.

(Historical note:  I was Ad Woman of the Year in 1979, the year I founded the original Screen Magazine, and only one of two non-advertising agency women ever to be so honored.)  

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