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Buying Power report: Blacks spend as economy grows
New 16th edition shows $507 bil in spending

The finding comes from the 16th annual edition of "The Buying Power of Black America" report. In 2009, black households spent an estimated $507 billion in 27 product and services categories. ...

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Commonground ad agency breaks into film production with original documentary

(March 18, 2013) Chicago-based commonground, known for award-winning marketing campaigns, made its film debut as executive producers of five short films and a 60-minute documentary exploring the convergence of emerging and established artistic talent. The original documentary, Imagination Unleashed: An Artisan's Journey, produced in partnership with BOMBAY SAPPHIRE GIN, Leopard Films, USA and Ovation Network, premiered on Ovation TV on Monday, March 18. Additional airdates are scheduled for Friday, April 12; Monday, April 29; and Saturday, May 4.

The Artisan Series film project marks a significant milestone for commonground, now in its 9th year as a marketing powerhouse. The commonground team, led by Experiential Director, Roni Jackson, served as the lead in the BOMBAY SAPPHIRE portfolio of agencies working with the brand team and all agency and production partners. In a collaborative effort, the agency set out to amplify the already successful BOMBAY SAPPHIRE Artisan Series and establish credibility in the world of branded entertainment and content.

"This is the third consecutive year of the BOMBAY SAPPHIRE Artisan Series, a now very successful platform for artists to showcase their work on both a national and international scale," says BOMBAY SAPPHIRE Senior Brand Manager, Richard McLeod. "As the agency closest to the Artisan Series, it made sense for commonground to maintain the integrity of the film project by overseeing the production. We believe the documentary and the shorts are natural extensions of the existing Artisan Series program and offer our finalists an even broader stage to make their mark as masters of their craft."

"In addition to managing the Artisan Series since its inception, the commonground team sat at the table with the BOMBAY SAPPHIRE global team to create the concept for the documentary," says Roni Jackson. "Working closely with our partners, the agency was involved in every area of the project. We are extremely proud of our work and our team was passionate about the project and making our client successful."

The film project provides a glimpse into the individual creative processes of imaginative artists, from the time they are chosen as Artisan Series regional finalists.  The documentary followed them throughout the filming of the shorts and as the artists prepared for their debut during Art Basel Miami (December 6-9, 2012), arguably one of the most celebrated art shows in America.  Each celebrity filmmaker and regional finalist used their common hometown as the backdrop to create the short films: New York (Danny Simmons), Chicago (Freddy Rodriguez), Miami (Persia White), Washington D.C. (Laz Alonso) and Houston (Melora Hardin).

For more information about the BOMBAY SAPPHIRE Artisan Series program, please visit For information on Imagination Unleashed air times, please check local listings or visit, To view each of the celebrity filmmaker/artist short film collaborations, please follow the five links below.

Danny Simmons & Edgartista Gonzalez:

Persia White & Jovan Villalba:

Melora Hardin & Jed Foronda:

Laz Alonso and Al Burts:

Freddy Rodriguez & Hebru Brantley:

Founded in 2004 by Sherman Wright and Ahmad Islam, commonground has grown from four to more than 80 employees in the nine years since it's inception. The Chicago-based agency was honored in 2012 by Advertising Age with the Small Agency of the Year Gold Award for agencies with 11 to 75 employees and named one of the 13 most successful companies to watch by Black Enterprise Magazine. The agency's portfolio includes such clients as Illinois Lottery, Coca-Cola Company, MillerCoors, Unilever, Bacardi USA, American Family Insurance, Jordan Brand and Wrigley. Commonground offers clients an integrated scope of services including brand strategy, cultural consulting, account planning, advertising, event marketing, consumer promotion, shopper marketing, digital/mobile solutions, content and property development. Visit for more info.

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