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[chicago] African-American agency leaders came together last week to celebrate their accomplishments, but they also used the forum to voice concern that they weren't being fully utilized by major advertisers.

They also decried the fact that general-market agencies were beginning to poach on their territory (AA, Feb. 5).


Vincent T. Cullers, recipient of the Pioneer Award for starting one of the oldest black agencies, in 1956, stated the theme at the salute to African-American agencies dinner, saying black agencies weren't included in marketing plans "in any meaningful way."

The problem is especially serious, Mr. Cullers said, because general-market agencies now compete for "a market which for so long these agencies, along with the advertisers, deemed insignificant and ignored."


John H. Johnson, publisher of Ebony, was presented the Lifetime Achievement Award at the dinner, sponsored by the American Advertising Foundation. More than 750 people attended.

Thomas J. Burrell, head of the Chicago agency bearing his name, in accepting the Chairman's Award, thanked Mr. Johnson for starting Ebony "because if he didn't we wouldn't have had anywhere to place our advertising."

UniWorld Group Chairman Byron E. Lewis also received the Chairman's Award.

Mr. Johnson said he couldn't get a bank loan for 20 years but he found other ways to raise money, such as offering a lifetime subscription to Ebony for $100.

"The trouble was the subscriber would never tell us whether he was alive or dead," he joked.

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