132: Do something that makes a difference - with Jeff McClellan
About Jeff McClellan
Jeff's career in advertising began nearly 40 years ago. A Cleveland native, he moved to Greensboro, North Carolina, after graduating from Bowling Green, to attend graduate school. He worked as a chef, and through a random set of circumstances, got a job as a copywriter at a small b-to-b agency in the Greensboro area. He and his family moved to Milwaukee in 1990. In 1993, he and Rick Thrun started MMT. In 2011, he founded Anthologie. Jeff's also an adjunct professor in advertising at Marquette.
How have you kept up with changes in the ad industry and the business of running an agency?
“I started way B.C., before computers, and the whole business was when I got into the business in 1980 or 1981. Everything was still typewriters, you’d give your copy to someone to type up…”
Changes in technology have had a big impact on marketing and advertising. What hasn’t changed?
“The need for good ideas and creativity. Ideas are still key… There’s no key that says idea on your keyboard. You got to still do the hard work to dig into whatever the clients messaging is…”
How important is it to give back to the community?
“Well I think as communicators, as professional communicators, we sort of have an obligation to use our talents to get attention for causes, whatever that cause is you might believe in.”
Can you share with me your most successful or favorite networking story/experience that you’ve had?
“I was at a tradeshow down in Florida, a solar power tradeshow. Actually, just trying to dig around, we had a client there. And then on the flight back I was sitting next to a gentleman and we didn’t talk much, I had my iPad out. And then must have been the case I had he liked and commented on it….”
How do you stay in front of, or best nurture your network community?
“I try to just read lots of stuff, articles, business publications. That’s one good thing about technology is that’s given us access to a ton of information that I never had before…”
What advice would you offer to the business professional who is looking to grow their network?
“Going back to the whole non-profit thing. Look for a non-profit that you can get involved with and get on the board. Because that connects you to so many people in the business community…”
Digital networking or traditional networking?
“I find more value in traditional, just because I don’t feel like I come across very well digitally…”
If you could go back 20 years, what would you tell yourself to do more or less of regarding your career?
“I would tell myself to not be afraid to ask for help from the very beginning. That was a mistake I made early on. In that I thought, I can figure this out I don’t need to get help. And so you get stuck and jammed up…”
We’ve all heard of the 6 degrees of separation… Now, who would be the one person you’d love to connect with and do you think you could do it within the 6th degree?
“I have heard Lee Clow speak. It would be great to just hang out with him. I think I can get to him within the six degrees of separation…”
What book are you reading right now?
“this one is called ‘Frenemies’ it's by Ken Auletta. He’s a writer for the New Yorker, and he writes on media and advertising. But he talks about the whole conflict now between data-driven media, information, and creativity…”
Any final words of advice for our listeners?
“just never say no to any opportunity.”
You can get in contact with Jeff at: