I was in over my head. I remember it well, though I had tried to wipe all that stress out of my memory. I was marketing director of MacEwan, we were knee deep in the process of rebranding the institution, working late nights in focus groups and early mornings in team meetings.
And a guy named Jim Hunter had conscripted me to work with him on the Advertising Club of Edmonton (ACE) awards, the industry celebration of excellence in advertising.
Whenever I wasn’t working late in sessions for MacEwan, Jim and I were meeting late at night, at Booster Juice, McDonald’s, and other random places to talk about the awards show and my role in locating creative directors from across Canada to judge the work. I convinced Isreal Diaz who was Creative Director of Leo Burnett at the time, as well as David Martin from Hyphen Communications and David Edward from Strategic Initiatives Group to come—two guys I had the privilege of having as an instructor in my advertising accreditation. And the other powerhouse judges from companies like Ogilvy were found by cold calling people I really respected.
As one of the jobs for the ACE Awards I was chaperone to the national judges when they came in January. It was -30 c or worse for the entire time they were in Edmonton, surprise surprise, but we had a great location in the Metterra Hotel, which was called The Met Hotel at the time. I had a dream, I’ll admit not overly creative dream one while I stayed at the hotel, of owning an advertising company called The Met Agency.
Then I had to build a rationale of why it would be called The Met Agency. Most of the rationale came from friends who I shared it with. One said, “met, as in metropolitan, oh that is clever!” One said, “met as in hello, have we met, oh that is clever.” And the kicker was “metamorphosis” or our ability to adapt and change. Yup. That was the idea behind the name all right!
Ten years have passed in a flash. The early days in the 200 square foot office we leased from our friends at Yellow Pencil seemed like a week ago. But it wasn’t. Hiring our first employee Adolfo Ruiz seemed like yesterday. But it wasn’t.
Today we are an agency of eight professionals in a giant heritage house in Old Strathcona. But I do look back at our history quite often in celebration of what we accomplished back then and what we have become. Humble beginnings and humble now—and thankful to our team and the great companies that have entrusted us with their advertising, branding and social media.