Tom Burrell and the Development of Chicago as a Center for Black-O wned Advertising Agencies
New York City’s Madison Avenue has long been considered the center of advertising in the United States. Yet for African Americans in the industry, Chicago is much more representative of their experiences in and contributions to advertising. This chapter examines the early professional and entrepreneurial life of Thomas J. Burrell, founder of Burrell Advertising. It analyzes the creation of his advertising technique known as “Positive Realism” in representing blacks’ in advertisements as well as his contributions to the development of the network of blacks Chicago’s business community. Additionally, this chapter focuses on the strategic relationships Burrell built within the advertising industry and with individuals who worked for clients like McDonald’s. These relationships enabled Burrell to build of the most successful agencies in advertising history.
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