Top of the Mind

My inspiration behind getting involved in the ad industry was the general acceptance to wear jeans to work. Besides that, I was enamored with the advertising great, David Ogilvy – one of the original Mad Men. He was a brilliant guy.

What drove my interest in the profession was the opportunity to manage business outcomes with creative firepower. It’s an industry that prides itself in breaking rules and I thought wow, this is cool.

The most memorable advertising trends I have seen come and go through my career would be the big trend now that I predict will fade soon. Sorry if I burst anyone’s bubble, but FaceBook and Twitter are not the silver bullets to brand building. These social networks have their place in advertising, but are not the elixir that is being hyped.

Some of the most exciting campaigns and successes I have seen throughout my time spent in the ad industry would be in the early to mid-90’s, I enjoyed helping make BLOCKBUSTER Video a household name. It was exciting to launch and sustain such an iconic brand that dominated the category. It’s painful to watch the brand suffer a slow death today.
My most interesting career challenge I’d have to say is branding in today’s communication environment. It’s also the most exciting. Ten years ago a consumer was hit with over 1,600 advertising messages each day. Today it’s twice this. The challenge today is to position a brand that is highly relevant and authentic or else the consumer will see right through it.

Comparing the advertising industry and the agency scene portrayed on television and in real life, the similarities are that it is a fun, hip, energetic and creative business that is chock-full of very interesting characters. What people may not see in real life is the tremendous amount of hard work and intense business strategy that supports the creative process. Maybe back in the Mad Men days they could enjoy the three-martini lunch, but that wouldn’t cut it today.

In terms of change since I entered the advertising field more than 20 years ago, advertising always has been a reflection of society and that won’t change. What has changed is what I call, “brand blur,” the speed at which we build brands. We are working in an environment that has been accelerated to warp speed. Basically, we can get an integrated campaign to market overnight.

From a pure brand strategy point of view, in the next five to 10 years we’ll see brands assume a much greater role in social responsibility.  From a technology standpoint, we will see an explosion of interesting interactive brand experiences. In addition to many new online platforms, we’ll see significant advancements at the point of sale with such intrusive technologies as 3-dimensional holograms.  

Looking at the ad business south of 435, you don’t have to be urban to be smart and creative, that’s for sure. There is a very vibrant ad community out here and why wouldn’t there be? There are many exciting companies south of 435 that need our marketing and advertising support.

In terms of my greatest accomplishment so far, I’ve had a great deal of fulfillment working at big ad agencies on big national brands, but I feel like starting and owning my own medium-sized shop is my greatest accomplishment. We have a great culture with very talented people working on some great brands.  

To set ourselves apart from other agencies, we have developed a solid niche as the marketing and branding experts on Kansas. In addition to our heartland work ethic, we understand what makes Kansans tick. We are proud to represent Kansas State Tourism, Kansas Department of Commerce, Kansas Lottery, Kansas University Athletics, and Kansas Responsible Gambling Alliance.

words by Devin Maxey