Big boulder in a little pond

You’ve seen it. And probably done it more than once. You’ve picked up that big, heavy rock and heaved it into a pond.

First there’s the big splash.

Then the ripples spread. And spread.

Ripples in water

As we rolled into 2018, the boulder dropped with the seemingly abrupt departure of Ward Duft and Jill Watterson from Stoltz Marketing Group.

Shortly thereafter, a new player emerged in the Boise agency game, and at least two other shops have been pulled into the fray.

The first ripple: Stoltz Marketing Group

The departure of Duft and Watterson left an obvious hole at the top of the agency, as they represented two-thirds of the new leadership announced in the summer of 2017.

The vacancy was short-lived, however, as SMG recently announced that Jaime Ekman has taken the helm of the company as president and COO. This marks Ekman’s second go-around with the company originally founded by her father, Ken Stoltz. She most recently spent the past eight years with Castor & Pollux, now a Nestle Purina brand.

Shortly after taking the reins, Ekman appointed Kate Holgate creative director, and announced that Crissie McDowell will be rejoining the agency as associate creative director. Holgate has been with SMG for 16 years, progressing from art director to associate creative director and now to her current role. McDowell rejoins the agency, having been an art director from 2006 to 2015.

The second ripple: Duft Watterson

Shortly after their departure from Stoltz Marketing Group, Duft Watterson emerged as a new addition to the agency lineup in the Treasure Valley.

According to their website, Duft Watterson is led by Ward Duft as co-founder, CEO and creative director, and Jill Watterson as co-founder, COO and head of client service. Joining them are two other former SMG colleagues, Marc Cowlin as director of content and digital, and Tony Hart as associate creative director.

Rounding out the Duft Watterson team is designer Madeleine Godwin, Kesey Badgett handling branding and digital, accounting specialist Talia Spencer, and Lisa Cloyd as account manager.

Duft Watterson is based in Boise, and also has a presence in the San Francisco bay area.

The Oliver Russell connection

How does Oliver Russell factor into all of this, you ask? The answer, of course, lies in the moves outlined above. At the end of her first stint with Stoltz Marketing Group in 2015, Crissie McDowell departed to join Oliver Russell, where she’s spent the past three years as a senior art director.

The DaviesMoore association

Similarly, DaviesMoore factors into the drama, as Lisa Cloyd spent a short stint with them as director of client services, before joining Duft Watterson in January.

The rest

Time will tell what — if any — other fallout there will be as a result this shakeup in the Boise-area agency scene. Is there more to the story? Most definitely. But those are details that are best left to the parties involved to share (or not share) as they see fit.

On a personal note:
As some may know, I spent several years at Stoltz Marketing Group, and have worked with many of the people mentioned here. That being said, I’ve done my best to be as impartial an unbiased as it relates to these changes. Hopefully it came across that way.


Ten years

Ten years. It’s really been that long, huh?

Ten years ago today was the first post on the Idaho Ad Agencies blog. It wasn’t anything terribly interesting – just a quick welcome to the site. Who would have thought that it would last this long…

Holy crap.

While the updates may be a little more sporadic than they have been in years past, I’d like to say thank you to everyone that has visited, and continues to visit the site. It’s been fun, and that’s why I keep doing it.

Thanks for putting up with me.

Let’s keep this crazy train rolling.

Creative Account Leadership

With thanks to Bonehook’s David Burn, I stumbled upon the video below. It’s a presentation by Jeff Graham, Founder and Partner at Boulder, Colorado-based Grenadier, to the 99U Local: Denver chapter.

In this presentation, Graham speaks about working for the work, and how creatively-driven account managers are critical to making the work happen – by creating the conditions on their accounts that allow bold, culture-changing ideas to live.

Have you seen the Boise Ad Book yet?

For those who haven’t heard, the Boise Ad Book has been developed by Greg Clow as a way to offer a common, central resource to showcase work from shops throughout the region.

A little more about the book, from Greg:

As you know, I have been working on the Boise Ad Book, and I am now proud to let you know that the 2014 Annual is available.

You can order the print version through Lulu. Lulu is a “print-to-order” publisher. With over 900 full color images, their product is high quality, and you will be impressed.

Beginning in the new year, the book will be offered to marketing directors throughout the Treasure Valley. Google Adwords will be used to inform potential clients who search for agencies in Boise of this new graphic resource.

You can view the entire book online for free, or order a printed version of the 2014 annual through the Boise Ad Book website.

Something’s brewing with the ITD

Woodland Empire Ale Craft Sign

Imitation is the sincerest [form] of flattery. – Charles Caleb Colton

It appears that the Idaho Transportation Department isn’t a fan of craft brew. Or, more specifically, a billboard about craft brew that looks too similar to their highway signs.

So they’ve requested that Woodland Empire Ale Craft take theirs down.

The billboard, created by Oliver Russell, was meant to leverage the environment at the intersection of 11th and Front streets on the connector. As westbound vehicles approach the intersection, they are presented with a row of existing highway directional signs. The Woodland Empire billboard emulates the colors and graphics of these directional signs, but with a headline that reads “Craft Beer–Right Here.”

Woodland Empire contacted the City of Boise prior to erecting the sign, and was told it had no regulations governing design requirements for an on-premise billboard atop a private business’s roof. Turns out, according to Dusty Schmidt, one of the brewery’s partners, this is a very special case. “Because we sit within the city limits, we thought we were in the good, but our brewery also happens to be near the connector, which is actually a state highway with different rules.”

It’s easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission. – Grace Hopper

By no means is this the first time that a business has gone the ‘ask forgiveness’ route with signage, names, or other identifying marks. In recent memory, Boise Fry Company originally opened as Idaho Fry Company, but was forced to change their name after the Idaho Potato Commission determined it infringed on IPC’s certification mark on the use of the word Idaho with anything related to potatoes.

As for Woodland Empire Ale Craft’s sign, Schmidt said the brewery never intended to create a traffic issue, and that the brewery is now in discussions with ITD. “We just wanted to let the 37,000 daily commuters know where they could get a delicious, hand-crafted beer,” he said.

And true to character, Dave Cook, Oliver Russell’s creative director, questions whether it constitutes a true safety hazard given the many other signs and billboards along Front Street. “All billboards distract drivers,” he said. “Especially the good ones.”

Jobs and Talent

For the long-time readers of Idaho Ad Agencies, you may remember that there used to be a page inside the Jobs and Talent section of the site that listed a variety of folks who were either looking for jobs, available for freelance work, or in other similar situations.

Unfortunately, that section was neglected for far too long, and much of it was outdated at best.

I’m wondering, however, if there’s enough interest in resurrecting that part of the site again, either in its original format or as something different. I’m still a fan of having an area where those who are looking for work or talent can find each other.

Thoughts? Leave a comment and let me know.

10,000 congratulations

From David Burn, friend and fellow blogger at AdPulp:

That’s a good ten times more posts than we’ve got here, and a remarkable milestone by
all measures.

Well done to David, Shawn and Dan, and everyone else who has contributed to AdPulp over the years.

Skipping Stones

Read in your best Barney Stinson voice…

Haaaaave you met Skippy?

Skippy is skipping stones in Sun Valley (say that five times fast) through July 14th. And if I had to guess, I’d venture to say that it’s not a coincidence that this is running while attendees at the Allen and Company Conference in Sun Valley.

UPDATE: The Valley Sun posted a good recap of the Skippy project and some website traffic-related numbers and results here: