A Letter from Ad Club CO President, Jeff Graham
I started my own journey in the advertising business 25 years ago, years before the Internet and all the ensuing technological innovation and disruption it has delivered to our industry. I feel lucky to have one foot in that craft era of advertising and another firmly planted in the digitally-driven business of today. Yet throughout my career, I’ve found myself saying the same thing whenever talking to a group of students, job-seekers or young ad professionals: “There’s never been a better time to work in advertising”
It might not seem that way from the drumbeat of industry news. Client-agency relationships have frayed, trust has eroded, pressure on budgets and compensation has never been greater, the AOR model of the past has been replaced with an increasingly project-driven future. And of course, technology continues to upend industries of every stripe, including ours – yes, the robots are coming to kill us and take our jobs (or is it the other way around?).
Yet we are, and I believe we always will be, in a growth industry. Because demand for creativity in business is inelastic. Creativity and innovation are the most disruptive weapons in business today. And that just happens to be our superpower. Yours. Mine. Every one of us in advertising. And it’s not just the writers, art directors and creative directors – it’s the strategists, account folks, media designers, front-end developers and data scientists. We are all creators. Ad pros have the innate ability to bring big, bold creative ideas and innovative thinking to solve client business problems in ways that help them transcend the transactional, and stand for an ideal that’s bigger than just making and selling stuff.
That’s a pretty awesome way to make a living. And we are doubly blessed to be able to do what we love in such a breathtakingly beautiful place. Colorado is every bit the category-of-one place to live and work as coastal cities like NYC, LA, San Francisco – surrounded by jaw-dropping natural wonders, robust economic momentum, and an entrepreneurial/startup energy that’s the envy of every other market in America.
Denver’s ad community has a proud history. Ours was the very first Ad Club established in the U.S., back in 1891. Fun fact: in those days we were known as the Alfalfa Club, we didn’t actually become the Advertising Club of Denver until 1911. Now, other clubs in the area are focused on vertical specialties like art direction, design, direct marketing and ad-tech. And that’s great. Ad Club CO is unique in its broad remit, one designed to energize and inspire every discipline in our industry - and in that sense Ad Club CO is the only club dedicated to truly bringing all ad professionals in Colorado together.
I’m honored to lead this club as we continue to roll out our new vision and brand for Ad Club CO. The new name is a nod to the symbiotic relationship between Denver and Boulder, and the tremendous community of creators, idea makers and innovators we have all along the Front Range. We are stronger as a unified Colorado ad community, and our name reflects that. Our new brand promise is clear and straightforward:
Ad Club CO cultivates Colorado ad ideas, and the people who bring them to life.
And we deliver on that promise in 4 distinct ways:
We champion the Colorado ad community, elevating the brightest homegrown ideas and highlighting the talented ad pros who bring them to life.
We empower fresh thinking though signature Ad Club events like The Fifty and Colorado Ad Day, featuring industry-leading judges and speakers.
We connect and strengthen our members and agencies through personal development programs like Food For Thought, Next, and the Freelance Spring Fling.
We celebrate one another, everyone belongs here. There’s true camaraderie among our member agencies. We genuinely like each other, root for CO agency wins. Our members feel a sense of inclusion and mutual support that’s emblematic of Colorado itself.
Like I always say, “there’s never been a better time to work in advertising.”
That’s especially true in Colorado today. I encourage you to dig in and learn more about Ad Club CO. Talk to our members, our agencies, our board members. If you’re not a member, we invite you to join this one-of-a kind ad community. And if you’re already a member, I challenge you to find a program that interests you and get involved, join a committee, and share your talents to move our club and the Colorado ad community forward. Here’s to another year of mind blowing, brand building, culture changing Colorado ad ideas.
SVP/Managing Director, Barkley
President, Ad Club CO