Milwaukee Mad Men + Women | Season 1
Thursday May 7, 2015
On Thursday, April 23 we had the opportunity to hear from some of Milwaukee’s advertising legends as they spoke on the “Milwaukee Mad Men + Women” speaker panel for United Adworkers’ members. It was an incredible event and now we know more about these advertising executives than we probably needed to know.
Although, some people may not have had the opportunity to attend, or want to see some of the creative work that allowed these advertising icons to climb the ladder in their respective careers.
So, we’re taking this opportunity to highlight just a few of the Mad Men + Women of the Milwaukee advertising community. We look forward to highlighting more of our talented advertising professionals in the near future!
Milwaukee Mad Men + Women | Season 1
Chris currently holds the ECD position at Hanson Dodge Creative. Before that, he spent 14 years as a vice president and creative director at Cramer-Krasselt and a couple of tours of duty at BVK. His work has included a wide range of clients; everything from Ski-Doo snowmobiles, Evinrude Outboards and Case IH tractors to CorningWare bakeware, Birds Eye frozen foods and Mohawk Carpeting and more. Besides CK and BVK, Chris has also worked with McCann Erickson-Puerto Rico and Bozell Worldwide, including multi-national work for Citibank and Coca-Cola and national work for Mutual of Omaha and American Tool. During his time with Bozell, Chris also spent 6 months working in their Indian headquarters in Bangalore. During his 27 year (and counting) career, Chris has been lucky enough to experience shooting commercials on four continents in three languages. Chris likes warm fall days and most breakfast food.
Twenty five years in advertising. Hard to believe (for him), David still likes to think he’s the “young kid”. Denial issues aside, David signed on to the C-K team ten years ago after holding various account management positions at agencies in the Midwest. Of course, the path to success was cast early thanks to his meteoric rise from dishwasher to lead dishwasher while at Old Country Buffet.
Since joining C-K, David led the rebranding and repositioning of the InSinkErator line of food waste disposers, earning the C-K team an Effie in the process. David steers the ship for C-K clients like BRP (corporate, Sea-Doo and Can-Am product lines), Weyco footwear products and a smattering of new business campaigns.
Steve has server as lead copywriter and creative director since founding the agency in 1983. During that time he has won every major national advertising award for him creative work. More importantly, he has helped countless clients achieve significant business results. Steve holds a degree from the University of Wisconsin.
Mark has worked on strategy and lead creative development for brands and companies such as the American Red Cross, Fujitsu, Miller-Coors, Pentax, Johnson Controls, Guinness Atkinson Funds, Dow Chemical, Kimberly Clark, Prince Tennis, and Milwaukee Brewing Company. His work has been written about in the New York Times, Adweek, Creativity Magazine, and has appeared in the One Show and Communication Arts Advertising and Design annuals.
He is also cofounder of the non-profit Islands of Brilliance, a breakthrough learning workshop that matches children and young adults with autism 1 : 1 with a design professional. His TEDx talk “13 Years on an Island” tells the personal story behind the creation of Islands of Brilliance.
While growing up, Dave gorged himself on a steady diet of work by the masters at Mad Magazine. Hence, every ad he writes can be folded in half to form a witty and subversive message. Dave’s career has taken him half way around the globe as a copywriter in Hawaii and into the entrepreneur world as a partner in his own agency. In between he’s worked on Fortune 500 brands like: Hyatt Resorts, Kimberly-Clark, American Express, HBO and United Parcel Service. Shiny accolades followed—like One Show gold pencils, Clio statues, and most recently a Cannes Lion and Effie Gold. Dave has also given keynote speeches at various ad conferences in the US and Canada, and has even found time to teach at Marquette University, winning the College of Communication’s Adjunct Teacher of the Year Award after only his first year in the classroom.
Denise has been responsible for brand development for more than 100 organizations in 25+ years in advertising and marketing. She combines business strategy, the principles of persuasion and belief in the creative process to give clients and creative people the confidence to do great work. A former agency president and client-side marketing director, she’s seen how great work can redefine business and redirect consumer behavior. She’s won an international Jay Chiat Strategy Award, a North American Effie and a Silver Pencil for copywriting from the One Show. She’s worked for clients including Lung Cancer Alliance, Global Healthcare Exchange, the YMCA of the USA, Ethan Allen, Kleenex Anti-Viral, the Milwaukee Brewers, Nurture by Steelcase and Potawatomi Hotel + Casino.
Gary Mueller is arguably Milwaukee’s most provocative and creative pitchmen. As Executive Creative Director at Milwaukee ad agency, BVK, and the founder of Serve, the country’s only all-volunteer, non-profit ad agency, Gary has built his career on breaking the rules and pushing the boundaries of creativity.
He’s also no stranger to advertising controversy. Whether he is plastering pregnant teen boys on the side of buses, or showing babies sleeping with butcher knives, putting scratch and sniff dirty diapers on bus shelters, or launching fake STD stores, Mueller’s work has been debated everywhere. From the Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN and Time Magazine, to the New York Times, Newsweek and the View. And his writing has won virtually every award imaginable from Canne’s Lions, Clio’s and CA, to OBIE’s and the coveted One Show Pencil.
Gary’s is most proud of his teen pregnancy prevention campaign in Milwaukee however, that was most recently honored by the White House, and has contributed to the city’s historic recent 56% drop in teen birthsin just 7 years.
After spending 5-1/2 years on the client side, Kirk Ruhnke managed to negotiate the often difficult transition to the agency creative side of things with a short stint at Hoffman York (now known as H-Y Connect), followed by an extremely long stint at Laughlin Constable (formerly Frankenberry, Laughlin & Constable). In his time there, he has worked on a wide range of accounts, including, but not limited to:
The Wisconsin Department of Tourism, Sargento Cheese, The Miller Brewing Co., Fruit of the Loom, Salon Selectives, Alka-Seltzer Plus Cold Medicine, Hillshire Farm, Sentry Insurance, Zurich Kemper Life, Associated Bank, Nielsen Marketing Research, Baymont Inns & Suites, Johnson Controls, Aurora Healthcare, ThedaCare, Bon-Ton Stores, Florsheim Shoes, Bridgestone/Firestone, WE Energies, OshKosh B’Gosh, The Milwaukee AIDS Project, The Milwaukee Ballet, Milwaukee Art Museum, and The United Performing Arts Fund
Over the years, Kirk has won the metric equivalent of a boatload of awards, and has almost single-handedly elevated the pun from the lowest form of comedy to a high art.