GlobalHue founder Donald Coleman *Photo courtesy of www.globalhue.com
GlobalHue founder Donald Coleman *Photo courtesy of www.globalhue.com

Note: This story was amended on February 6, 2013 to include additional factual information.

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 1: Ad agency GlobalHue appears to be suffering little fallout from its controversial spell promoting Bermuda tourism.

The company is now reputed to be the largest black-owned ad agency in the US, with annual billings in excess of a billion dollars — and has one of its clients slotted in for the Super Bowl on Sunday.

It’s an ad for Jeep, that will air after halftime in what for advertisers is one of the priciest and most sought-after events in the world.

Jeep’s parent company, Chrysler, has not released any information about the ads it plans on airing during what will probably be the most watched TV programme in the US this year.

Each of the eight other car companies that have Super Bowl ads — Audi, Hyundai, Kia, Lincoln, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota and Volkswagen — have released some or all of their ad content. Mercedes drew more than five million people to its ad on YouTube thanks in part to it starring super model Kate Upton.

Chrysler has released YouTube videos for Fiat, one of the companies in its stable, including one in which a scorpion walks off with a bikini top.

Forbes online is postulating that by holding back on the info, the Chrysler, Jeep ads could have a “huge impact”.

GlobalHue was criticized for the way it handled billing while it had the Bermuda account from 2006-2010. The Auditor General in 2009-10 made numerous allegations about the propriety of GlobalHue’s billing methods, but stopped short of saying it was guilty of any illegal or unethical conduct.

During the three years it pushed the 'The Feel the Love' campaign, the number of tourists to Bermuda increased 16.6 per cent, but many of those were due to a relaxed cruise ship policy that saw more passengers come to the island via sea.

In 2007, the total number of visitors reached 663,767 — the highest in 20 years — and air arrivals, at 305,548, were at a seven-year high.  

Asked to comment last night on GlobalHues’s success, Dr Ewart Brown, who was Premier and Tourism Minister when the firm handled the Bermuda account, told the Sun: “GlobalHue is a progressive, forward-thinking company. The only place where they ran into difficulty was in Bermuda.

“Outside this tiny country, GlobalHue enjoys a sterling reputation. That sounds familiar to me! The whole, racist campaign against GlobalHue was designed to poison Bermudian minds against a black-owned business.”