ADCOLOR is a non-profit organization whose mission is to celebrate and champion diversity in the advertising, marketing, media, entertainment and public relations industries. ADCOLOR strives to create a network of outstanding, diverse professionals by leveraging their stories as a road map for others to follow. Each year, ADCOLOR recognizes and honors outstanding individuals in these industries to inspire the next generation of diverse professionals. Now in it seventh year, ADCOLOR has chosen to honor L3 Advertising president and founder Joe Lam with its “Legend” award for his remarkable and pioneering work in Asian American marketing and his substantial contributions to the advertising industry.
Over the weekend of September 20th, more than 500 diverse marketing professionals arrived from across the country and gathered at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, CA for the ADCOLOR Industry Conference which culminates in the awards banquet on Saturday night in the hotel’s grand ballroom (the traditional home of the Academy Awards Governor’s Ball). Joe Lam and fellow ADCOLOR honorees arrived to the awards ceremony via the traditional red carpet lined with reporters and press photographers. For the usually shy Joe, who prefers to avoid the spotlight and the attention and celebrity that an industry legend receives, all of this took some getting used to. But with the encouragement of his colleagues, he smiled through all of the extra attention.
Joe Lam is – quite literally – the father of Asian American advertising and marketing. He is also probably the only advertising executive in the U.S. with over thirty years experience in Asian American marketing. In 1984, along with his partners Lawrence Lee and Wing Lee, Joe founded L3 Advertising Inc., the first advertising agency in the U.S. to implement an Asian American program for a Fortune 500 client.
In 1999, Joe was one of the founders and initial board members of the AAAF (Asian American Advertising Federation) that helped to organize and create a sense of recognition for this rapidly growing niche market.
At the award ceremony, ADCOLOR screened a 3-minute video about Joe filmed by JLG producer Wee Wan. Marc Strachan, a longtime friend and the VP of multicultural marketing at L3 client Diageo, presented the award to Joe with these words: It is Joe Lam’s dedication to perfection, that has lead his agency to create some of the most outstanding, and effective Asian targeted creative and marketing communication elements in the business. There are few that are as dedicated to the industry we have chosen to make our profession. Joe Lam is the Asian Advertising Agency leader that most of you have never heard of, primarily because he is about promoting his clients and their brands more than himself or his agency. In the definition of “Legend” Joe Lam is right there with the other industry icons we have honored. It is time to provide Joe Lam with his pedestal of recognition. He will be uncomfortable with the recognition, but this is about the industry leaders. He is one, and it is time. I proudly present Joe Lam with the 2013 ADCOLOR LEGEND award.