Danny Robinson named first African-American CCO at award-winning advertising agency in Richmond


RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC)– The Martin Agency is responsible for countless commercials you’ve seen over the years, winning numerous awards along the way. Just last year, the agency announced its first ever African American Chief Creative Officer to lead the charge.

This past fall, the agency welcomed Danny Robinson. Robinson was hired by the agency in 2004 and has replaced the agency’s former CCO Karen Costello.

While many businesses closed their doors in 2020, the Martin Agency in Shockoe Bottom found a way to thrive. American advertising trade publication Adweek, named Martin its 2020 U.S agency of the year.

Robinson is responsible for the agency’s overall creative direction.

“People are bombarded with thousands and thousands of ads everyday, so in order to break through you have to do something,” Robinson said. “The most talked about brands grow faster than those that aren’t talked about.”

The company’s mantra is ‘we fight invisibility.’

Robinson said, the key to a successful campaign is to get people talking and sharing. Finding the next new thing that will spark a conversation, usually starts small with one great idea. According to Robinson, the relatively small team grows as the creative process moves along.

A Martin Agency DoorDash ad featuring actor Daveed Diggs and the Cookie Monster recently premiered during the NFL playoffs. The Superbowl Sunday teaser took off on Twitter. But this isn’t Robinson’s first rodeo.

He worked on rapper Jay-z’s commercial for Heineken in the early 2000’s, in addition to a number of ads for brands like Chevy, Geico, Carmax and even one of America’s most famous cookie brands, Oreo.

According to Robinson, one of his favorite ads that he has worked on was an Oreo mini’s short film.

Now Robinson helps to nurture little ideas and steers the work. With years of experience in the industry and countless accolades, Robinson’s recent promotion still caught him by surprise.

“After the announcement, the replies I got, the texts and the linked in comments from particularly young black men in the business, I quickly realized that it had more meaning than just me being promoted to the position,” Robinson said. “I had ultimately a responsibility.”

Robinson told 8news, people of color have been underrepresented in the advertising industry.

Incidents from 2020 did a lot to advance the cause but this particular career, wasn’t on his radar growing up.

“I think one of the reasons people who look like me don’t get in the business is they don’t see role models,” said Robinson. “You have to think about who’s in the room when it’s created and even maybe more important, if those people aren’t in the room, do they ever get created?”

Three years ago, he started the journey for equal representation at the Martin Agency because he knew, change was a priority. He believes better work is created when there’s a diverse workforce.

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