THINKING OUTSIDE THE BLACK BOX
The economic downturn led to a 2.6% decline in advertising spending in 2008 from the previous year, according to The Nielsen Co., as advertisers tightened their purse strings. Some ad shops were caught off guard, but wooing skills and talent helped the St. Louis-based ad agency FUSE (No. 8 on the BE Advertising Agencies list with $71.6 million in billings) land Barack Obamaās presidential campaign, which contributed to a 28% increase in billings last year. FUSE was the agency of record for all of the African American-targeted media for the Obama campaign along with the Democratic senatorial campaign committee and the Democratic congressional campaign committee. The agency also handled marketing for CNNās āBlack In Americaā mobile tour and the CNN Election Express Yourself tour according to FUSE CEO Clifford Franklin.