Mike Hughes, president of The Martin Agency (www.martinagency.com), a full-service advertising agency based in Richmond, Virginia, is a 40-year industry veteran. Hughes served as The Martin Agency’s longtime chief creative officer, relinquishing this title to John Norman (former executive creative director for Wieden+Kennedy’s Amsterdam office) in 2010. The succession of creative leadership to Norman was brought about in part by Hughes’s illness; several years ago he was diagnosed with lung cancer and so he set about to identify someone who could guide Martin’s creative group forward. A survivor still, Hughes isn’t ready to retire. He’s set out to direct The Martin Agency beyond the making of ads, to serve the greater good—and nurture people along the way…
To continue reading Mike Hughes’ biography, please check out Advertisers at Work. In the meantime, enjoy the following excerpt from my interview with Hughes for Advertisers at Work:
Tuten: What was it like being a part of Martin all those years ago (1978)? How is the agency different than it is now?
Hughes: We were a lot smaller then. We had a wonderful time over this period. But probably, there was probably never a time we didn’t struggle, you know? In all the years we’ve been here, I bet once a month the entire time I’ve been here, someone comes into my office and closes the door and says, “You know, this agency is at a crossroads.” We’re always at a crossroads. I think every company always feels it’s at a crossroads, and it’s an industry that can make you feel pretty paranoid because business can come and go. But the things that I think we worked on here were just basically about being good people. You know, like every young creative director, when I came here—and I guess I was associate creative director under Harry, or some title like that, when I was twenty-nine years old—and I came here and I would have said that the only thing that matters is the work, the work, the work, the work. As I’ve gotten older, I think I’ve come to understand that\