Remembering Mike Hughes: A Timeline
Yesterday, the ad industry lost one of its finest when The Martin Agency President Mike Hughes passed away from lung cancer. But even in his final days, his life was full enthusiasm, vitality, caring and contemplation. He shared his reflections about living and dying on a blog Unfinished Thinking -- and made his final post, posthumously in an autobiographical obituary.
Here, we take a look back at Mr. Hughes' great moments in life, both personal and professional.
Mr. Hughes takes his first job in advertising at Clinton Frank, a Chicago-based ad agency. He is hired to work on Reynolds Metals and works at this agency for approximately 18 months. (He says everything in the '70s came and went in 18-month periods.) Clinton Frank is sold to Campbell-Ewald of Detroit in 1976.
Persistence (and a little agency experience) pays off. Mr. Hughes is offered a job at Martin & Woltz as a writer.
Lawler Ballard Little hires Mr. Hughes as co-creative director to work on the Kings Dominion account. (Hughes led the pitch for Kings Dominion at Martin, but Lawler Ballard won the account.) More importantly, this is also the year Mr. Hughes meets his wife, Ginny, while working together at Lawler Ballard.
Mr. Hughes leaves Lawler Ballard for a period of freelancing. In April, Mr. Hughes and Ginny tie the knot.
Mr. Hughes declines Dave Martin's invitation to return to what is now called The Martin Agency as a creative director. Mr. Hughes co-founds a small creative firm called Hughes-Wynne that partners with ad agencies without a creative arm. He spends another 18 months or so there before moving on. Also in 1976, Mr. Hughes and Ginny's son Jason is born.
Martin begins a winning streak. The agency brings in the locomotive division of General Motors (EMD) in 1982, followed by Barnett Banks of Florida and FMC Farm Chemicals in 1983. (Here is one of the ads Mr. Hughes wrote for FMC and EMD. Art director: Harry Jacobs.)
The Martin Agency wins the Wrangler account, Ethyl Corp. and Marriott Corp.'s Residence Inn. One of Mr. Hughes' ads is shown here, at right. (Residence Inn writer and art director: Ken Hines/Cliff Sorah.)
Also that year, Winners magazine features Mr. Hughes and his son Jason on the cover of the November issue [also shown at right].
Martin creates a campaign for Bernie's Tattooing, a parlor in Bristol, Pa. This ad is one of Mike's favorites. (Copywriter: Raymond McKinney, Art Director: Jelly Helm.)
The One Club for Art & Copy names Mr. Hughes to the Board of Directors.
Also that year, Martin wins Mercedes-Benz. Don Just leaves the agency to pursue other opportunities and John Adams becomes president.
Then Mr. Hughes is inducted into the Virginia Communications Hall of Fame.
Also in 1997:
• Martin wins Saab.
• USA Today features Mr. Hughes as Martin becomes a major player on the national advertising scene.
• Mr. Hughes is featured in The Wall Street Journal's Leadership Series.
The Virginia General Assembly names Mike Hughes and John Adams the Outstanding Industrialists of the Year.
In this campaign for the NAA, called How to Write a Newspaper Ad, Martin taps several famous creative directors to illustrate their own ads. Shown here is the ad Mike created.
Martin makes Advertising Age's Agency A-List for the first time, and for many years thereafter (2007, 2008, 2009, 2011)
Martin defeats the hottest competitors in the business for the opportunity to work with Vice President Al Gore on The Alliance for Climate Protection.
Also in 2007:
• The agency publishes a book based on one of Mr. Hughes' speeches, discussing his approach to a work/life balance. Every new employee at Martin receives a copy of this book. • Martin wins Walmart. Later that year, the world's largest retailer launches a new brand identity and tagline, "Save money. Live better."
Martin wins Pizza Hut. Also that year, Martin and The JFK Library create one of the most award-winning campaigns of 2009, WeChooseTheMoon.org.
The Martin Agency follows up its "We Choose the Moon" campaign with another stirring effort, "Clouds Over Cuba," which goes on to become the most celebrated interactive campaign of 2013 -- winning top awards at industry shows and even an Emmy. The agency also continues to produce buzzed-about work, including an uplifting, musical brand campaign for Oreos and the viral hit "Hump Day" for Geico.
The ad industry loses one of his finest when Mike Hughes passes away. He sends a final goodbye, posthumously, on his blog Unfinished Thinking.