In the gleaming towers of Madison Avenue, a revolution of representing black creatives in advertising is taking shape. INK—MGMT, the first full-service talent management agency dedicated to championing Black creatives in the advertising industry, has seen the number of candidates in its database triple since its launch last month, according to a spokesperson. The agency, created by a triumvirate of award-winning Black creatives, will focus on the innovative staffing of Black talent, with the goal of reshaping the industry’s landscape.
This pioneering agency was founded by Jason Pierce, a Detroit native and highly acclaimed creative director; Ant Tull, a writer with an art background known for his culturally resonant ideas; and Sebastian Walker, a multidisciplinary artist from Florida with an eye for the vanguard of design, fashion, and photography. All three have made their mark with some of the world’s top agencies and brands, including Droga5, VML, CP+B, MullenLowe U.S., and Grey NY.
INK—MGMT’s leadership team is further enhanced by Tiffany Golden, an award-winning producer and former Wieden+Kennedy alum, who will serve as the agency’s first director of business development. Golden brings over a decade of experience in film production, episodic television, commercials, and activations, having worked with iconic brands such as Samsung, Nike, and Coca-Cola.
This agency’s launch couldn’t be timelier. Black or African American talent comprises less than six percent of the advertising industry, according to a 4A’s survey. At the executive level, the representation is even more paltry, with only three percent of the creative department being Black. INK—MGMT aims to combat these grim statistics, not with performative gestures, but with concrete actions that will drive substantial change.
“The topic of finding Black talent is too often treated as a pain point by the ad industry,” says co-founder Pierce. “Not only are we representative of the culture, but we are representative of the talent. Leaders have good intentions but are falling short of being ‘intentional.’ Supporting a Black-founded company that is using great care in recruiting outstanding Black talent and in return will be giving back to Black creators is the flex.”
In a market increasingly aware of the importance of diversity and representation, INK—MGMT hopes to serve as a conduit for an underrepresented demographic. It aims to spotlight top-tier Black creatives, fostering an environment where they can flourish while contributing their unique perspectives to brands they work with.
The collective experience of the INK—MGMT team, which spans more than four decades, makes it a formidable force in the adland. Their work with brands such as Acura, American Airlines, Hotels.com, Domino’s, Hennessy, Instacart, and Wendy’s have earned them some of the ad industry’s highest honors.
As it steps into the limelight, INK—MGMT promises a fresh, future-facing approach to talent management, shunning the traditional confines of the industry. This is not merely a talent agency; it’s a mission-driven endeavor that embodies the spirit of innovation and the promise of representation.
Despite the impact of layoffs on diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, INK—MGMT is poised to redefine the narrative for Black creatives and talent in the industry. With an unflinching commitment to diversity and creativity, this agency may well be the harbinger of the much-needed shift towards a more inclusive and representative advertising landscape.