Monday, June 4, 2012

Michael Steele Speaks at Mid-South Community College Graduation - Tells Students to Set Lofty Goals and Work with Conviction

We are so proud to share the following press release from Mid-South Community College, where out President and CEO, Michael Steele, spoke to graduates about hard work and paying it forward.  He also received an honorary Associate of the Arts degree from MSCC.

MAY 24, 2012, MEMPHIS, TN - MSCC Graduation Speaker Tells Students to Set Lofty Goals, Work with Conviction 

Setting challenging goals and working with conviction, when coupled with the “magic” of higher education, make personal and professional success possible, says advertising/marketing expert Michael Steele. 

Steele, speaking to the largest graduating class in the history of Mid-South Community College, encouraged students to work hard, dream big, and ignore critics. “I’m here to tell you, the world is yours as it is mine, but we have much work to do,” said Steele, president and chief executive officer of Advantage Communications, Inc., of Little Rock. “Let this be the beginning...a life-changing event. Set goals for yourself, and set them twice as high as the person sitting next to you. Don’t be denied.” 

“People can say what they want to say, but when you have the desire and that fire is in your belly, nobody can stop you. I urge you to work hard and dream big. If you take your job serious and start an hour before everybody else and stay an hour afterwards, eventually you’ll be running the place...and you’ll change your own destiny.” 

Steele, who grew up in a public housing project in North Little Rock, told graduates to be more concerned about where they are going than where they started.

“I grew up in the projects…and I knew nothing different,” he pointed out. “Many said I had no chance. Many said I would never finish high school. Many said I would not finish college, and when I left high school, my classmates, particular my basketball mates, were wagering if I would last a semester. Shame on them.” 

“There ain’t no limit because of where you’re from. If it happened with me and my family, it can happen to you. I am testimony. You can do whatever you want to do, but you have to believe in you.” 

Steele, who didn’t make it through the first day of tryouts for the ninth-grade basketball team, played the game every day for the next eight years to make sure that wouldn’t happen again. He went on to star in high school and college and even played a season in the NBA. 

“I take that attitude with me everywhere I go,” he said. “I will not be defeated; I will not stop. Everything I do, I do with conviction. 

While basketball opened some doors for him, it did not guarantee him success in the business world. Steele credited education and determination for propelling him to major corporate accomplishments with Coca-Cola and the business that he founded 10 years ago upon returning to Arkansas.

“Education is everything,” he said. “I learned at an early age that education was key…I did discover some magic. If you want to do something special, educate yourself.”

When Advantage Communications joined approximately 300 other firms in vying for the General Motors account, “My peers laughed at me,” Steele said. “They said, ‘Who would pick that agency?’ But we won here in Arkansas. Today we have the fastest growing advertising agency in the South.”

Steele encouraged students to be selective in their job searches.

“Don’t take the first job; take the best job,” he said. “And don’t take the job for money. Take the job for how it’s going to help you long term. Hold out; be patient; be disciplined, and you will be richly rewarded.”

The keynote speaker left the students with one final challenge.

“You need to pull someone along; you need to reach back and encourage someone else to graduate,” he said. “Each of you needs to go find a friend or a family member and bring them along this journey.”

Following the presentation, MSCC President Dr. Glen Fenter awarded Steele an honorary Associate of Arts degree from MSCC.

More than 245 students from 19 cities and towns in Arkansas and Tennessee earned MSCC degrees and/or certificates. For a full list of those graduates and their accomplishments, go to

- Press Release and photo courtesy of MSCC.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Advantage Communications, Inc. Selected as Strategic Partner to General Motors

LITTLE ROCK, AR – January 23, 2012 – Advantage Communications, Inc., Little Rock-based advertising, marketing and public relations agency, has been selected to execute creative services for General Motors (GM) in support of its Minority Dealer Development (MDD) Program. As a strategic partner, Advantage Communications, Inc. will work with GM representatives to develop the re-design, theme and content framework for the MDD INFORM communications platform.

Since 1972, GM has provided training opportunities to qualified minorities to help develop them to become future dealers. GM was the first US automaker to institute a formal minority dealer initiative in the industry. Through Minority Dealer Development, General Motors has created a program where potential minority dealer candidates can learn the business, and current minority dealers have access to resources to help them grow their businesses.

"Advantage Communications demonstrated that they understand what we are trying to accomplish through our program communications," commented Marina Shoemaker, Director of Dealer Development and the GM Minority Dealer Development Program. Their approach is refreshing, very creative and we look forward to developing this partnership with them."

“We are simply humbled to be a partner to such a prestigious organization as General Motors,” said Michael Steele, President and CEO of Advantage Communications, Inc. “For years, our agency has advocated for the development and enhancement of career opportunities within minority communities. The GM Minority Dealer Development program is the epitome of diversity initiatives working at its best. We look forward to not only spearheading the redesign of the MDD communications platform but building an added-value partnership with the GM family.”

For more information, contact Advantage Communications at 501.374.2220.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Advantage Communications Receives International Recognition for Radio Advertising

Radio advertising for tobacco prevention and cessation raises the bar in public health communications

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Monday, January 9, 2012 – Advantage Communications, Inc. – a full service marketing, advertising, and public relations agency based in Little Rock, Arkansas – has received notification by The International Davey Awards that its work in public health communications will be honored by the organization, once again. 

The International Davey Awards recognizes the outstanding creative accomplishments of advertising agencies. In its seventh year, The International Davey Awards accepted international nominations and reviewed submissions by a team of creative experts. Advantage Communications, Inc.’s work for the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff’s Stamp Out Smoking Program was recognized from a pool of thousands of entries.

Make a Little History, a Black History Month creative unit featuring a well-respected physician, was awarded an award in the radio category. Make a Little History is a sixty-second radio unit designed to promote the benefits of tobacco cessation and to encourage minorities (specifically men) to abstain from the use of tobacco products- primarily because of a proven correlation to erectile dysfunction.

“This recognition speaks to the commitment of Advantage Communications, Inc. to produce innovative creative that is assertive and encourages behavior change,” stated Michael Steele, President and CEO of Advantage Communications, Inc. “We are honored to have received recognition from the Davey Awards again this year, particularly for our work in support of Black History Month. We will continue our pursuit of excellence for our clients."

“The UAPB/ Stamp Out Smoking Initiative is one that has had a significant impact on lives across the State of Arkansas – particularly throughout minority communities,” stated Dr. Calvin Johnson, Program Director, Minority Initiative Sub-Recipient Grant Office. “It is a true honor to receive recognition of this caliber from such a prestigious organization. We will continue pressing forward aggressively to affect change against our target audience to secure healthier, smoke-free lives.”

Advantage Communications, Inc. is an award-winning advertising agency. Over the years, Advantage Communications, Inc. has received awards such as the W3 Award, Addy Award, Public Health Award, The Communicator Award and the Small Business of the Year Award.

“We appreciate advertising awards, but what really motivates our team is seeing our creative work change behavior and yield results for our clients. This Davey Award is a perfect combination of the two,” commented Steele.

To view the award winning creative referenced in this announcement and additional agency creative units, visit For more information about Advantage Communications, Inc., please contact Whitney Albert at 501.244.4915.