2020 marks 30 years of ADCO.
But we weren’t always ADCO as you know us today. Originally founded as The AD Company in 1990 by Brian Murrell, Lanier Jones and Craig Houston, the name ADCO wasn’t around until April, 2008. Back then, our agency focused on media buying and design. And while we still do design work, billboards, branding and print work, we’re so much more than that in 2020.
Where ADCO is now.
So what are we up to today? We sat down with Brian to ask how he has seen the company change from the day The AD Company opened their doors to now.
How did ADCO get started, why did you decide to start it?
I worked for a small agency and the principle retired. In 1986 I bought the agency and changed the name to RBM Designs. In 1988, I met Lanier and Craig and we decided to share office space. We worked on projects together from 1988-90. In June of 1990 we launched The AD Company. In 2008, Lora Prill, an account executive since 2002, became a partner. Craig left in 2012 and Lanier retired in 2017. I’m still sticking around.
When you started The AD Company did you imagine still doing this 30 years later?
First, ADCO is about its people. We care about one another. We have fun together. We celebrate our uniqueness. I always felt if ADCO treated our clients like they were a part of the team and if we cared about their bottom line, then we would be successful. We’ve never wanted to be the biggest. And that has allowed us to give our clients personal attention. With ADCO you always get the A-team.
How has ADCO’s offerings to clients evolved over time?
Marketing has changed. We’re constantly updating, evolving and expanding our services. It’s more exciting now than ever. There used to be a lot more of trial and error to see what worked. Now, there are so many ways to measure outcomes. Today, we can hire and be hired remotely thanks to technology. Our resources don’t have to be next door.
What is different about ADCO now than when it started?
The big difference between now and then is technology. Computers weren’t around as they are now – they were expensive and mainly just for word processing. The way to lay out a brochure or an ad was all by hand, done on a board with glue and scissors. Digital marketing and social media have only been around for the past 10-15 years. This profession changes almost daily. We can do a lot more with a lot less.
Looking back over the past 30 years, what makes you the most proud of ADCO?
I’m most proud of the successful work we’ve done for our clients. We’re all bombarded with lots of message clutter. Creativity has been our driving force to break through and make a difference. Great concepts, design, marketing and branding stick. I’m proud of the relationships we’ve built and earned. When you have a client’s trust, you can debate marketing concepts and challenge yourself and them. When you can present your best idea without feeling like it may be too risky, etc., that’s called marketing magic. Risk can be an ally. “Famously Hot,” for example, could have easily been perceived as too risky. But the client trusted our know-how and expertise. And it’s still a part of the vernacular. That’s good branding.
Why did you change your name?
Many of our clients have called us ADCO for years, mainly because of our logo at the time, a circle with AD-CO. As marketing evolved, the name The AD Company didn’t fully explain that we were a marketing, design and interactive agency. We brainstormed other names but ADCO kept coming back. It just fit. It was modern yet classic, cutting-edge yet rooted in tradition. It also allowed us to showcase our offerings: ADCO Creative, ADCO Strategy and ADCO Interactive. The logo is about the continuous flow of two-way communication, infinite possibilities and a driving commitment of always thinking.
What does success mean to you?
Success energizes us. It’s fun. It reinvigorates us for the next problem. It means full-out ingenuity. To be creative and strategic thinkers. It means harnessing the power of collective imaginations by working collaboratively with our clients. We believe the true measure of success is not about us—it’s about the client winning.
One thing still stands true today. Our team is small, but mighty. We work hard and put our heart and soul into every project we produce. We are proud of who we are and look forward to serving our community, near and far, for years to come. We’ve created a video to reflect on the past years and all we’ve accomplished. You can check it out here.
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