Business as unusual

Life is anything but normal these days.

Nevertheless, business still happens. And must keep happening.

So here’s what I’m going to do.

I am going to keep sharing updates, information, and news as relevant and appropriate when time allows. I’ll answer questions as I can, either via email or Twitter.

And perhaps I’ll even set up an occasional virtual coffee or happy hour get together, if there’s an interest.

The ad industry — both nationally and in Idaho — has been beat up in the past by forces way outside of anyone’s control, but my hope is that everyone will be able to adapt and adjust as needed, and get through this together.

Stay safe, stay apart, and be well.

To those in advertising

Last summer, Muse by Clio launched, with Tim Nudd at the helm as editor in chief. For those with long memories, you may also recognize Tim’s name from his years with Adweek.

One of their early guest essays also proved to be among the most popular of the year. For those who haven’t read it, I encourage you to take a few minutes to do so:

To Those in Advertising: Yes, We Are Curing Cancer Here

Why what we do matters

And after you’re done, be sure to sign up for the Museletter, their daily email. It’s a good read each weekday morning.

In memoriam: Ken Stoltz

Ken Stoltz passed away on Wednesday, June 13th, following a two-year battle with brain cancer.

Born in 1951 in Pasadena, California, Ken was the second of seven children. He spent his childhood in California, and later found his way to Flagstaff, Arizona, where he graduated from Northern Arizona University with a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature.

In 1978, Ken and his wife Terry moved to Pocatello, Idaho. There, he and Jim Steele founded Steele, Stoltz & Associates. Over the years that agency grew, a Boise office was opened, and by the 1990s it had become the largest in the state.

In 1997, Ken launched his own agency, Stoltz Marketing Group, and for more than 20 years grew that business, developing a large roster of clients in a diverse range of industries.

He is survived by his wife Terry, his children Brian, Jaime, and Ashley, their respective spouses, and five grandchildren.

Ken’s full obituary can be read here.

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.