Chisholm-Mingo Struggles to Survive

By Douglass, Malik | Black Enterprise, April 2004 | Go to article overview

Chisholm-Mingo Struggles to Survive


Douglass, Malik, Black Enterprise


One of a few large wholly African American-owned ad firms, Chishlom-Mingo Group Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last fall. Industry experts are now saying that poor management plus the inability of the New York City-based firm (No. 5 on the BE ADVERTISING AGENCIES list with $100 million in billings) to provide a broad base of services to clients and to land Hispanic- or Asian-oriented accounts along with black or "urban" ones may have been at the root of its growing troubles.

The agency's chairman and CEO, Samuel Chisholm, cites economic setbacks stemming from the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and a decline in the number of companies marketing to African Americans as contributing to the firm's financial woes. CMG was unable to pay its creditors on a timely basis. "What we didn't do as quickly as we should have was to cut expenses," says Chisolm. This would have meant cutting staff and moving to a smaller space to lower overhead costs. Chisholm has cut staff by nearly 50% and plans to reorganize the business further, with hopes that the firm will be back on its feet in six to 12 months.

Founded in 1977, the firm's clients include Anheuser-Busch, the U. …

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