Caroline Jones left an indelible mark on advertising, rising from secretary to copy to creative director and finally owing her own advertising agency. Let’s get to know this pioneering woman of Madison Avenue.
Caroline Jones was born in Benton Harbor, Michigan, the third eldest child in a family of 12. She gradated from University of Michigan in 1963 and then made her way to Madison Avenue. It was the swinging 60s, an era when men were revolutionizing advertising and women were still stuck in secretarial positions. The situation for African-American women was even worse. But where others experienced setbacks, Jones seized opportunity.
Jones started in a secretarial pool and expanded to copywriter posts. Within weeks of becoming a copywriter trainee, Jones became creative director of Walter Thompson’s biggest account. Eventually she became creative director at J. Walter Thompson, which was one of the most powerful advertising firms in America. Jones left Walter Thompson in 1968, starting her own advertising firm, Zebra Associates, which was a full-fledged general market advertising firm with African-American principals. In the 1970s and 1980s, Jones also pioneered the specialty market advertising space at a time when many businesses had never considered marketing to African-American consumers. Her clients included American Express, Anheuser-Busch, McDonald’s, Prudential, Toys ”R” Us and the Postal Service.