If You Think Advertising Is An Idea Business, Think Again

January 20, 2015 | blog | By Mike Sullivan

Ask a young creative what advertising is all about and they’re bound to tell you it’s all about coming up with the big idea. Thinking outside the box. The light bulb moment. And they’d be right. To a point.

When your advertising career is all in front of you, everything is about the book, the reel, the campaigns, the concepts. Then you get better and the conversation turns to the Clios, the One Show, CA and Cannes. If you’re lucky, you work in great agencies with smart clients and recognizable brands with awesome budgets that allow you to bring your visions to life for the world to see. Nothing like getting that first call from your Mother saying “I saw your commercial on TV!”

Sure, advertising is all about ideas. But that’s also the limited view of someone either young, or not yet educated in the ways of the business. Ask someone who’s been in the business 20, 30, 40 years why they stayed and what made their career meaningful and I bet you their answer won’t be about the names on the doors of the agencies they served, the trips, the awards, or any of the hundreds of thousands of ideas that sprung from their imagination.

What makes the advertising business meaningful are the people you meet along the way. And I have never met a better group of people than the ones who have become my family at LOOMIS.

LOOMIS Imagibrand Process

Over the years, people have commented that we’re not like most other agencies. They’ve asked us what it is that draws us so tightly together. I think, more than anything else, it’s the fact that at LOOMIS, people live to the same values and defend them fiercely. We also have seven guiding principles we follow religiously:

Shared Success. Where we go one, we go all.

Make It Better. We’re here to change things for the better.

Family and Friendship. The golden rule is the most important rule.

Happiness and Fun. Do what makes you happy.

Integrity. Do the right thing, even when nobody’s looking.

Growth and Improvement. There is no finish line.

Unity. We are unified by our shared commitment to honor and support our individual and collective values.

We are allergic to ego and arrogance. We look for the best in each other. We believe in the spirit of collaboration and the untapped potential of the Stakeholder Model and Conscious Capitalism. We recognize we spend more time with each other than our regular families, and that for us to succeed, a genuine family dynamic is what’s required. The Container Store founder Kip Tindell once noted, “you can build a much more wonderful company on love than you can on fear.” LOOMIS is living proof that’s true.

Today marks my last day at LOOMIS after a 15-year run with the finest group of people I’ve ever worked with. I’ve often told people privately, if the world knew the people I work with the way I do, there’s not a person, or a client who wouldn’t line up to work with us. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to spend 15 years with people whose hearts are as big as their brains. People consumed with serving our clients, supporting each other and making the world a better place for those less fortunate. We’ve shared births and deaths, weddings and divorces, account wins and account losses and through it all, the fabric that holds us together has only gotten tighter. My friends are an extraordinary group of people with the world in front of them and I will forever be grateful for the meaning they have added to my life.


Mike Sullivan

President at LOOMIS, the country’s leading challenger brand advertising agency


We challenge underdog brands to think differently. We help them find their voice, and urge them to blaze new trails to make sure they stand out from the pack. Whether you need an agency of record or support on a project, we are here to help you win.