Tom Burrell Becomes First African American Inducted into One Club Creative Hall of Fame

A trailblazer, icon, and barrier breaker in the advertising industry, Tom Burrell has been inducted into the One Club Creative Hall of Fame.

Burrell was recognized by One Club for creativity. He is one among five inductees in the class of 2017, making him the first African American to gain the honor. The other inductees were Susan Hoffman, David Lubars, Rebeca Méndez, and Diane Cook-Tench.



The One Club, which produces the One Show, ADC Annual Awards and Creative Week, said of Burrell in a statement:

Tom Burrell launched what is now Burrell Communications in 1971. By understanding and highlighting the positive aspects of black American culture, Burrell changed the face of American advertising. A collection of Burrell’s advertisements for Coca-Cola is archived at the Library of Congress for its cultural and historical significance.

Additionally, the One Club posted about Burrell on its website, “The iconic advertising pioneer whose illustrious career transformed both the way people of color were portrayed in communications, as well as their roles within the industry itself. It’s a never-ending mission, but one with a defined starting line that he helped create.”


The One Club Creative Hall of Fame celebrates innovators who represent the highest standards of creative excellence and whose lifetime achievements have made significant contributions to creative communications.

A Leading Multicultural Marketing Agency


Black Enterprise reported that Burrell was known as the “Dean of Black Advertising.”  Burrell Communication, a leading multicultural marketing agency based in Chicago, was No. 5 on the BE 100s Advertising list in 2016.

He retired in 2004 and presently serves as the agency’s chairman emeritus. The company is now led by co-CEOs Fay Ferguson and McGhee Williams Osse and Chief Creative Officer Lewis Williams.

Brands that Burrell Communications Group now represents includes McDonald’s Corp., P&G, Comcast NBCUniversal, Toyota Motor Sales Inc., AARP, and Hilton.