Small But Mighty Advertising Agency Vigilante Stands Tall

Share Article

Small advertising agency with African American Chief Creative Officer and President/CEO overachieve with blue-chip clients and impressive business results.

Mighty Mouse was a popular children's cartoon that aired on network television from the mid 1950's until the mid 1960's. Each week, Mighty Mouse would display incredible super powers by dispatching of giant-sized enemies and performing feats requiring incredible strength and speed. His theme song chronicled his prowess with the words "Here he comes to save the day..." That catchy song could easily be the theme for small, but mighty Vigilante Advertising.

Vigilante was launched in 1988 as a joint venture with the giant-size agency Leo Burnett who, even at their size, understood their limited ability to reach a fast-growing and deep-pocketed urban market. Over the next two years Vigilante was hired by Johnnie Walker to revitalize their brand among the growing urban audience and Major League baseball to help bring fans back to the sport. In short order they created a fully integrated print, promotion and event campaign that expanded the Johnnie Walker franchise and a series of award-winning commercials for Major League baseball that celebrated the fan and won the respect of players and club owners. Along the way they were nominated for and won the prestigious O’Toole Award for MultiCultural Agency of the Year given by the American Association of Advertising Agencies for their body of work. Over the next five years Vigilante produced work for Sprint, The Snapple Beverage Group, Western Union, Heineken and General Motors.

What's unique about Vigilante in addition to its size; topping out at 30 employees; is its leadership. Vigilante is led by Danny Robinson and Larry Woodard; two African American veterans of the ad business. This causes potential clients to often mistake the agency for a targeted agency. Partners Danny and Larry are used to defying labels.

"I have an MBA and was a Product Manager working at General Foods," says Chief Creative Officer, Danny. "I’ve been a stand-up comic, a DJ, a starving artist and am seriously considering taking up fencing. I don’t take to labels. I work hard to make sure my creativity speaks universal truths, then let the peer respect and our clients business results speak for themselves.”

In addition to two AAAA Multicultural Agency of the Year Awards, Vigilante's conference room is littered with statuettes from various competitions including multiple London International and Mobius Awards.

President and CEO Larry Woodard sees Vigilante as a giant and gratifying step in a 22 year career with lots of success. While at regional agency ICE in Rochester, New York, he stunned the advertising community by leading a team that won significant assignments from Kodak including advertising and worldwide promotion work for the Advantix introduction.

Woodard followed up this success by moving to New York and helping targeted agency UniWorld win the Three Musketeers business.

"Winning the Three Musketeers business was exciting. But the part no one talks about is how we took that brand from way back in the back to a top ten candy bar with an excellent strategic position and kept the business year after year in the same bullpen as BBDO and Grey."

With a knack for winning the confidence of clients, excellent strategic insights and breakthrough creative, Vigilante was able to win the USTA account.

"We're speaking to perceptions… our sport is still an elitist, country-club sport," says Michelle Difilippantonio, Senior Director for Marketing at the United States Tennis Association (USTA) in White Plains, New York, "Players like James Blake and Venus and Serena Williams have moved the needle, but not enough, in our opinion. So the campaign seeks to deliver "a more relevant message to a multicultural audience," she adds, “As well as put tennis back into the pop culture, like in the heyday of the 70's, when brash players including John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors took some of the prim-and-proper starch out of the image of tennis...." says Difilippantonio.

One day, when faced with difficulties, marketing managers everywhere might just hum... Here they come to save the day… in reference to the small, but mighty Vigilante.

# # #

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Larry Woodard
Visit website