*When a company’s official tagline/slogan is dubbed…“The Planet’s Most Interesting Agency,” the organization better be able to back up such a lofty claim, both nationally and internationally. In other words, the company has to be better than good, while consistently operating in an atmosphere of pure bliss and enthrallment. Yet, for Aaron Walton, co-founder of Walton Isaacson (WI), a full-service advertising/marketing agency, he wouldn’t have it any other way.
With offices in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York and Tokyo, Walton, who formed a business alliance with Cory Isaacson and Earvin “Magic” Johnson, oversees a global staff of about 200. In addition to providing elite advertising/marketing services, WI also renders digital and social capabilities across multiple media platforms, all of which greatly impact consumers in the general, African American, Hispanic, and LGBT markets of the United States and beyond.
WI’s portfolio of clients include, but is not limited to Lexus, One.org., Spalding, McDonald’s, Macy’s, The Oscars, Beam Suntory, MillerCoors, Courvoisier, Redds Apple Ale, Los Angeles Dodgers, and many more. While Walton has been called a genius for his visionary leadership role connected to WI’s success, he modestly deflects such praise.
“I’m not a genius,” Walton said with a laugh. “I am, however, very passionate about what I do. The success of Walton Isaacson has been a collaborative effort. What we’ve accomplished has been as a team. We’ve been really blessed to have some great folks work for Walton Isaacson.”
Although the success of WI is a team effort, there’s no denying the impact Walton has had on the company’s meteoric rise since its 2005 inception. With a three- plus -decade career in advertising and marketing, Walton remembers his early years in the industry. His first job in advertising/marketing was in the early 1980s, when he worked as a market analyst for Pepsi-Cola in Purchase, New York. He had just earned his bachelor’s degree in management, organizational behavior and communications from Babson College.
“This was a time when a lot of brands were beginning to look at entertainment and pop culture and music to help amplify their voice with consumers,” Walton recently told EUR’s Lee Bailey. “My first big assignment with Pepsi was working with the Michael Jackson tour. I was asked to come to L.A. and be a part of his camp. That’s how I got out to L.A., and when I really fell in love with this type of work.”
Over the ensuing years. Walton created a powerful marketing and branding partnership between Pepsi and pop icon Britney Spears. He later formed his own company (Aaron Walton Entertainment), where he successfully linked and branded other products with such recording artists as Reba McIntire (Whirlpool), Whitney Houston (AT&T), Busta Rhymes (Mountain Dew), Spice Girls (Polaroid), Enrique Iglesias (Doritos), Led Zeppelin (Cadillac), and more.
After selling his company, Walton became president of another business that served a large network of experiential marketing agencies. A decade ago, he partnered with (Cory) Isaacson and (Magic) Johnson to form Walton Isaacson.
Over the years, WI, under the guidance of Walton and Isaacson, has received many awards and honors for its marketing specialization and impact in sports, lifestyle, entertainment, as well as for its experiential and branded content. As one of the nation’s most successful African American-owned advertising agencies, the company has received the “Minority Supplier of the Year Award” five of the last six years for the organization’s work with Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. (Lexus Division).
Additionally, WI has been honored as “Advertising Agency of the Year” by Black Enterprise magazine, as well as recognized as one of Inc. Magazine’s 5,000 fastest growing private companies in America. Walton also serves as the executive producer for the agency produced TV series, “Verses & Flow.” The TV One program has been nominated for an NAACP Image Award for “Best Variety Show.” He is also executive producer for McDonald’s 365 Black Awards, which airs BET. (More about those projects and more in the video below.)
While success is a consistent theme that resonates throughout WI’s global operation, Walton admits there are challenges. However, he has a unique way of viewing perceived challenges.
“The challenges that we face, aren’t challenges,” Walton said, as matter-of-factly. “We look at them as opportunities and new ways to communicate and connect with diverse consumers.”
Walton is adamant when speaking about why it’s vital for companies to better develop and implement advertising, marketing, and branding strategies and platforms that effectively reach diverse consumers, such as African Americans, Latinos, women, and the LBGT community.
“Our agency understands the power of celebrating diverse cultures,” said Walton, who takes pride in leading a workforce comprised of people of various colors and from very different backgrounds. “Companies must recognize that they can no longer ignore Black buying power or Hispanic buying power or LGBT buying power. Companies have to make sure that they have a brand that speaks to them in a way that’s relevant, if they want to grow. It’s important that these brands see the world the way the world wants to be seen. Understanding this is a big part of who we are, a big part of our DNA, and why I believe we (WI) have been successful.”