The Martin Agency's Mike Hughes Dead at 65

by , Dec 16, 2013, 9:29 AM
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The advertising world bids farewell to one of its own. Yesterday, The Martin Agency President Mike Hughes succumbed to lung cancer which he had been battling for 16 years. He was 65. On his blog, Unfinished Business, he left those he touched in the ad world with a kind parting thought, "I’m proud to have been one of the hundreds of people who put The Martin Agency on the map.  We owe a lot to our clients and stockholders, of course, but no one gets in this line in front of the men and women who earned their paychecks doing things a little group in Richmond, Virginia, wasn’t supposed to be able to do.  I can’t begin to list the account, planning, media, design, tech, administration, finance and business partners who have done the work for which I’ve been given so much credit.  I hope they know how much I’ve needed them and how much I’ve loved them.  I can’t remember the first time I said 'I do work I love with people I love,' but I know I’ve said it thousands of times.  Every word is true." It's news like this that makes one realize the irrelevancy of the rest of this column's news.

If every one of us toiling daily in the world of marketing and advertising just took a minute to sit back and reflect upon what we've subjected the world to, we'd end up the main character in this video created by Toronto-based Open. The video, entitled The Marketers' Anthem and created for Strategy's Marketer of the Year issue, is a congratulatory look at the stellar accomplishment marketers have brought to the people. Touting the "consumer whisperers," "mother targeters" and "brand champions" who "grab life by the pie chart," the video is a hilarious (but all too true) celebration of an industry that does things like create a worldwide community around deodorant and make it possible to be friends with a cookie. Think about that for a minute.

This is pretty lame by Rooster standards but, hey, even New York based Rooster can't be expected to have a How to Fight A Baby hit every time out of the gate. In this latest video from the agency, Michael Luciano and Philip Matarese take on sexual harassment in the workplace. In an investigative report, Matarese dresses like a woman (poorly) and attempts to elicit some harassment. Much to his and Luciano's dismay, office interactions are fairly innocuous. That is until a co-worker congratulates Matarese for facing his sexual orientation by changing his sex to "female" on Facebook. The offense? A hug. Yeah, we said this wasn't a How to Fight Your Baby, didn't we?

What's an ad person who's sick of advertising's long hours and "eat their young" approach to life? He leaves the business to launch his own business at which he can also spend long hours but at least not get eaten alive doing so. Cramer-Krasselt's Brandon Knowlden who's been in the business for ten years decided enough is enough, left the agency and started his own furniture and industrial design company called Well Made. The move is not far from his roots. His dad was a furniture man and Knowlden has fond memories of working in his father's wood shop learning how to transform wood into heirloom furniture. Of his new endeavor, Knowlden says, "I want to figure out how to keep trade alive in America, create jobs locally and make things that are done well, done properly and that we can take pride in."

I'm pretty sure a fair percentage of you can relate to this scenario. I certainly can having worked in nepotism-fueled ad agency during the course of my career. You know how it goes. Some intern or junior employee, who happens to be the boss' son or daughter or client offspring, shows up, makes your life miserable, leaves you no recourse to remedy the disaster or, worse, ends up being the reason you get laid off. Ashley Tisdale gives us a similar scenario on an upcoming episode of the CBS adver-comedy The Crazy Ones. On the episode, Tisdale is the daughter of one of the agency's biggest clients. She's self-entitled, causes fear to run through agency management but is really, really good at playing beer pong. 

And so December is the time of year that all ad agencies get goofy because they have free creative reign to do whatever they like creating the annual agency holiday card. Most are lame. Some are funny. But this one from Baltimore-based Planit just plain has fun...scaring the shit out of agency employees. While agency employees don holiday apparel and sing Christmas carols in front of a green screen, they get the scare of their life when one mischievous creative jumps out of a box wearing a scary mask. Hey, it's not Cannes Lions caliber but you have to admit, it's good fun to see your fellow employees freak out.


















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