Icons, Rock Stars, & Innovators: Melvin Wilson

What makes you an Innovator?

You’re not the problem, you’re the solution! You are traveling the roads not taken…being a pioneer of change…and fearlessly creating groundbreaking initiatives and solutions!

Melvin Wilson – Founder:

For over 20 years Melvin has had a knack for using marketing and technology in concert and has been doing so in the marketing, communications, finance, and technology industries, since dial up modems and flip phones. In his current role, as Founder of Solve Innovation Group and the Plural Accelerator, he continues to do so.

Prior to this, he ran strategy and research for IPG’s global media think-tank, IPG Media Lab and helped prove that consumer behavior, location, and value are just as important as algorithms and data to the development of media and technology products; to the tune of millions of dollars in increased in revenue per year for the firm.

In his career he has held top positions in account, media, and strategy leadership roles across agencies, clients, and banks; building solutions by betting on and developing things that don’t seem to go together for success.

  • Resold military tracking devices to state governments to generate more revenue
  • Built out and sold the first digital and motion ad experiences on MTA and PATH rail systems with Steve Madden and Target
  • Built out digital and social development frameworks still in use at Colgate

Palmolive, Ford Motor Company, and AARP

  • Used the strategy and development assignment for DeBeers design your own engagement ring website and digital display to get married and promoted.
  • Developed plan to use Phat Farm and Motorola co-branded products as fashion accessories, then followed that up by crashing the Yahoo! website with the first expandable display ads selling the phones.
  • Created award winning digital tie-ins with toothpaste and the entire DC comics universe by pitching and using a comic character for Colgate.
  • Made people love Bank of America again with good ole baseball. Sponsoring all of baseball (little league to the pros).
  • Spending all-in against growth of Twitch, while others were laughing about “people watching other people play video games”
  • He has exited a couple of times already as a founder, advisor, and investor, including as a founder of a digital direct response agency that had a database of over 30mm African Americans and Hispanicx, which was sold to Equifax Marketing Solutions.

He makes sure money and opportunity gets funneled to diverse owners and prospects:

  • Managed and built the first holding company wide research tool at IPG using facial recognition, by funding an African American founded company Kairos
  • Hired and mentored HBCU students and interns into the innovation and research space in NYC and San Fran; to get jobs after they graduated
  • Developing and advising audience DSP’s and DMP’s-bringing LATAM and EMEA publishers into the programmatic media space for the last 8 years
  • Pitched and won the initial media funding to kickstart theGrio, Moguldom, and several other multicultural digital publishers.
  • Part of a team that built a multicultural agency with over $700mm in billings  Raised over $6mm to fund minority owned or focused startups

He has worked on many brands and brought successful tech and financial brands/products to first to market like:

  • EZPass
  • SpeedPass
  • Samsung Pay
  • Keep the Change
  • SafeSend
  • Encryption to fight music piracy for Sony Entertainment
  • AARP’s first bilingual websites for advocacy and products

Other cool stuff or products built/launched:

  • Created two of the first minority owned digital firms with BX Media Group and Black Experience
  • Being part of a great group of makers and thinkers over 4,000 strong at IOT NYCthat started as 10-15 people at the IPG Media Lab in NYC.
  • Part of the first TEDX Harlem development team

Good Speeches he has done:

  • Spoke on tech and marketing at ComicCon
  • Keynote speech of the Next/Now conference in Sao Paolo to open up the Brazilian market to social media and mobile
  • Connected Car and IOT strategies twice at Google HQ
  • NYU, CUNY, and Columbia Business School on multicultural, data, media, and tech
  • Modern Luxury sales conference-talked about the uberization of luxury services and the need for a luxury focused digital media product
  • Oneida sales conference
  • Univision Sales Summit-talked them into going into programmatic

As a speaker, advisor, and investor Melvin is creating more diverse funding sources for startups and connecting brands and tech companies. He is passionate about developing solutions that help create positive business and social outcomes through utility, access, and value exchange.

Follow Melvin on Twitter and find him on LinkedIn!

The ACNY Foundation is proud to recognize outstanding industry professionals, during our 4th Annual Black History Month recognition series titled, “Icons, Rock Stars & Innovators”.

It is our way of shining the spotlight on exemplary talent, integral to the evolution and growth of the advertising industry. Each day during Black History Month we profile a selected “Icon, Rock Star & Innovator” across all our digital platforms. Though we cannot be together in person, the spirit of our history and the legacy of our excellence lives on in us. Follow the series on InstagramMetaTwitter, and LinkedIn!

P.S. Check out our other content from previous years

2020 – Honorees

2019 – Sizzle Reel

2019 – Online Exhibition

2019 – Icons, RockStars, & Innovators

2018 – Icons, RockStars, & Innovators