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 moving 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 of life --from the personal to the professional at the Martin Agency.
Mike takes his first job in advertising at Clinton Frank, Inc., 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. Mike is offered a job at Martin & Woltz as a writer.
Mike leaves Lawler Ballard for a period of freelancing. In April, Mike and Ginny tie the knot.
Mike declines Dave Martin's invitation to return to what is now called "The Martin Agency" as a creative director. Mike 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, Mike 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 Mike wrote for FMC and EMD. Art director: Harry Jacobs.)
The Martin Agency wins the Wrangler account, Ethyl Corporation and Marriott Corporation's Residence Inn. One of Mike's ads is shown here, at right. (Residence Inn writer and art director: Ken Hines/Cliff Sorah.)
Also that year, Winners magazine features Mike 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 Mike 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, Mike is inducted into the Virginia Communications Hall of Fame.
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 Mike's 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.