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Agency Spotlight: Hoffman York

Thursday March 23, 2017

written by Wilbur Bascomb

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Hoffman York recently pulled up its stakes from the corner of State and Water streets and moved to Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward. Appropriately enough, they took up residence in a former advertising museum.

While the Tony The Tiger and Jolly Green Giant exhibits are long gone, the work HY does for clients like Yamaha Outboards, Wahl Clippers, The Wisconsin Lottery, Napoleon Grills and the Montana Department of Tourism is always fresh. And it seems many of their clients have no expiration dates, either – some having on the roster for more than 25 years. The same is true of many of HY’s 70 long-standing employees.

So photographer Andrew Feller recently “checked-in” to this proverbial Hotel California to ask the two questions everyone wants to know: “What is the best thing about Hoffman York’s culture, and how the heck do you folks hold onto accounts for so long?”

LAURETTE PERLEWITZ (VP/Creative Director)
MICHAEL SIFUENTES (Associate Creative Director)

“Hoffman York has hired great people over the years,” said Sifuentes as he and Laurette discuss the virtues of Colectivo’s Dark Sumatra Highlands blend versus the Blue Healer Signature Blend. “That has allowed us to go to the next level.”  Perlewitz agreed, adding, “We’re also super passionate about the work we do. Whether it’s getting a new campaign out the door or throwing an impromptu dance party, we are a spirited bunch. Furthermore, we make pretty good stand-ins for stock photo images, don’t you think?”

EMILY DOLD (Partner/Media Director)
NICK JOHNSON (Senior Media Planner)

Here Nick and Emily ham it up for the camera crew in one of HY’s creative lounges. “While we are devoted to making great work for our clients, we’re not afraid to show our quirks and edges,” says Johnson. “The partners and senior leaders always make time to listen, which is rare in most companies.”

PETE CAPP (Senior Front-End Developer)
REBECCA BIEDENBENDER (Executive Producer)
JAKE MAGYAR (Senior Art Director)


The new office space has all sorts of places to collaborate. Here Pete, Rebecca and Jake meet to discuss one of Wahl Clippers’ new digital strategies. Or ways to enhance the Napoleon Grills website. Or perhaps the previous night’s episode of The Bachelor?  “Hoffman Yorkers are free to be themselves,” says Magyar. “And best of all, nobody cares who’s looking.”

ANDRÉA MICHEL (Financial Services Manager)
JOSH HERTZOG (Account Supervisor)
JAIME HUTCHINGS (Partner/Management Supervisor)
SHERREE LENZ (Partner/Account Director)

Yamaha Outboards is one of several accounts who has been a mainstay of Hoffman York’s deep roster, now celebrating its 25th year as a client. Here (L to R) Andréa, Josh, Jaime and Sherree share a laugh upon realizing they forgot to hang up the phone after a client conference call. “One of the best things about HY’s culture is how relaxing and inviting it is,” says Michel. “HY is a place where you can really be yourself,” added Hertzog. “Employees appreciate that and believe it or not, so do clients.”

THE NOT READY FOR DAYTIME PLAYERS (L to R:  Joe Estrem, Pat Kopischkie, Mike Welch, Doug Patterson, Brady Welsh, Liz Tveten, Matt Hogan, Dave Hanneken (kneeling), Aaron Renzelmann, John Heavey, Carol Rockow, Jake Magyar, Rachel Armstrong, Jeff Horrigan, Diana Bagley)

Being on two floors provides an open, airy environment to the new HY office. It also offers a daily dose of endorphins to its employees as the numerous hikes up and down the stairs equate to burning a 2,367 calories per day and puts everyone’s average resting heartrate at around 15 beats per minute. “Having a large opening between floors has other advantages, too,” said Dave Hanneken, Partner/Executive Creative Director. “It makes it easy to toss Tic Tacs down on unsuspecting account people below us.”

LAUREN COOK (Social Media Designer)
JOHN HEAVEY (Social Media Strategist)
ALLISON MILLER (Art Director)


“I love how everyone is always so cooperative and willing to help with whatever you might be working on,” said Cook as she shared kale recipes with John and Allison in Harry’s Café. “We actually have a Culture Committee,” added Miller. “They plan fun and creative ways to build relationships with our co-workers, reward our hard work and promote HY as a more than a company, but as a community.”

TROY PETERSON (Chief Executive Officer)

After coming to Hoffman York from creative juggernaut Fallon McElligott more than 20 years ago, it should come as no surprise that Troy knows a thing or two about creative leverage. “Marketers like to talk about return on investment. Here at HY, we changed the acronym to ‘Return On Ideas.’ Because at the end of the day, that’s what clients pay us for. We’re problem-solvers, and it takes strong, strategic ideas to solve our client’s problems. Whether it’s a creative way to buy media, design a website, to engage socially, or using traditional approaches, ideas are our currency.”

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