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Al Anderson, an African-American marketing pioneer, dies at the age of 72

(February 18, 2015) One of the long time veterans of African-American marketing, Al Anderson, died on Wednesday, February 18 in Atlanta, Ga. following an accident in his home. Anderson, the founder and chairman of Anderson Communications, Inc., was 72 years old.

Anderson Communications was founded in 1971, making it the second oldest African-American owned marketing and advertising firm in the country. Over the course of four decades, the company created targeted marketing, advertising, promotional and trade marketing programs for clients like Kroger, Lawry's, Pillsbury, Procter and Gamble, Reebok, KFC, Sara Lee, Quaker Oats, Kraft Foods, Revlon, Chevrolet and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

ACI also developed syndicated radio programs. Al was creator of the three award-winning nationally syndicated programs: "Inspirations Across America", a two-hour weekly program of contemporary gospel music which aired in more than 107 cities; "Focus on Women" a daily program that addresses issues affecting African-American women; and "Power Minutes", a one-minute daily motivational thought.

"I met Al over 30 years ago working on a project for McDonald's that he did for me working in Atlanta," recalled industry veteran Chuck Morrison, who at the time was at the Burrell ad agency. "I always found him to be a gentleman, a pioneer in ethnic marketing and a Christian. I always liked Al, his approach and manner to the marketplace. I don't think I ever saw him have a bad day. I'm just really sad about his passing."

Al was born in Winston-Salem, SC on May 1, 1942, the son of Dr. Albert H. Anderson and Gladys Harris Anderson. He continued his education and graduated from Morehouse College. He later served as president and co-founder of the American Medical Team for Africa, a non-profit organization that has donated millions of dollars of medical equipment and supplies to African countries.

In addition to his business activities, Al was an ordained minister, the recipient of an honorary Doctorate of Medicine degree, an accredited spiritual and family counselor, a consultant with hundreds of minority-owned businesses and is a frequent speaker on many topics. He was an adjunct Professor of Marketing, an avid auto racing and classic car enthusiast, and a collector of African and African-American art.

Though he claimed many achievements, he always said his greatest pride was his family, his late wife Jeanette, children Albert III and April, and six grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at a later date to be announced.


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