Isaac Newton has been credited with the saying, “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” On Thursday June 14th, more than 200 advertising and marketing professionals current and alumni attended the first Ad Fed event of its kind, The Mad Men and Mad Women of Minneapolis. This event allowed all to look upon the shoulders of the many professionals and to reconnect or connect with for the first time.
Solera in downtown Minneapolis was the venue for this event and the layout provided the maximum amount of food, conversation and networking. There was a full bar with a large array of food and beverages served. The consumables were outstanding: braised chicken boca, grilled Spanish sausages, wild mushroom and artichoke grautin, crab cakes, ham and cheese croquettes, veal meatballs with harissa glaze and saffron rice, grilled shrimp pincho and salad mix chefs at Solera. Later in the evening, vintage ads from the agencies in attendance played for guests’ pleasure and entertainment.
And, of course this event included an awards presentation.. Lili Hall of KNOCK won Ad Fed’s Silver Medal Award. After accepting the award Lili said, “KNOCK isn’t about the individual, so I feel a little uncomfortable accepting this.”
Steve Wallace, the man behind concept and execution of the Mad Men and Mad Women of Minneapolis, posed a question to a rapt audience:, “How did we get here? How did Minneapolis become an ad town?” Steve credited this to three major things: isolation (Chicago, being the largest ad market, is hours away), shipping routes, and having a well educated place of creativity. He spoke on behalf of more than 125 Ad Men and Women for this event.
I was fortunate enough to have several interviews with the attendees.
Dick Heyne, former Art Director at Campbell Mithun:
From 1956 to 1986 Dick Heyne was an art director at Campbell Mithun, he reminded me that this was before the computer and they were drawing by hand. When asked for a favorite story about his past, Dick replied that he did have one. It was 1965 and the Minnesota Twins were playing the Dodgers in the World Series. He made a bet with another art director that the loser would have to push a kneaded eraser along a hallway floor with his nose. When the Twins eventually lost the series, it was time for Dick to follow through with his part of the agreement, although he had another idea. “Being a good sport, I paid off the debt instead.” He saw the evolution of the advertising world, especially when it came to women. He wanted me to know that he will be turning 90 in August of this year. Happy early birthday from Ad Fed, Dick Heyne!
Jerry Gale, formerly of Campbell Mithun:
Jerry’s father wanted him to be an architect and discouraged him from going into advertising. But he admitted that he was bad at math. Jerry got to know people at Knox Reeves and was looking for work while attending the University of Minnesota. He got his chance during Christmas vacation. Jerry met and worked with Chuck Ruhr (of Chuck Ruhr Advertising). “Many people thought I was crazy, but Chuck knew that I had nowhere to go but up”.
Patrick Redmond, of Patrick Redmond Design:
When asked, “What made you get into advertising?” He replied, “I love the challenge of being creative and making a positive difference in the world. I believe that great advertising can do that. Advertising is applied creativity.”
Steve Griak, formerly of Campbell Mithun:
When asked, “Why made you get into advertising?” replied, “I knew I could draw when I was in high school. My brother said to me, ‘You’re going to go to art school’. I traveled down from Duluth and met a man at the Walker Art Center where my brother arranged an interview.” He was only 17 years old and would receive the money to go to school via the GI Bill. “They had one advertising class with a small studio,” he said. Steve spoke with a man who then crushed his feelings by saying, “There are five men in there that are better than you. How are you going to make it?” After this encounter, Steve spoke with another man who gave him words of encouragement: “Don’t give up, don’t give up.” Steve didn’t give up. “I got a job as a trainee and kept working. I continued to work and became an art director at Campbell Mithun.” What a great reward for such persistence.
I found Steve Griak’s words to be the most inspirational that night. His “never give up” attitude propelled him to the place he strove to reach. Although anyone’s path maybe long, winding and unexpected, the real challenge is to keep going and never give up on your dreams.
Thank you’s from some anonymous Mad Med & Women:
“Thank you so much for spearheading the Minneapolis Madmen event this past week. You really seized a fleeting opportunity! It was a special event for the industry, for our vibrant city, and for countless individuals. It was a great thing to credit those amazingly talented people for their super-creative work, and to provide a comfortable setting for their conversations with subsequent generations. One notable moment was seeing a young college student who’s about to do a summer internship with General Mills share a drink with the 82 year old Mad-Man who worked on Bacos and Bugles accounts and invented Hamburger Helper.”
“I am so happy to have had the chance for that unique glimpse into Minneapolis history. Most of all thanks for giving me the opportunity to let my dad know how fiercely proud of him I am.”
“We all owe Ad Fed for an incredible evening. I don’t know when I’ve had so much fun with my peers. We were all competitors back then! This was even better.”