Profiles Of The Powerful Advertising Exec Steve Grasse

Profiles Of The Powerful Advertising Exec Steve Grasse



Profiles of​ the​ Powerful Advertising Exec Steve Grasse
After ten minutes with Ed Tettemer in​ the​ offices of​ the​ agency he founded with partner, Steve Red, you begin to​ understand the​ agencys passion for​ excellence. After an hour with Ed, you begin to​ understand the​ intensity of​ his personal passion. You begin to​ understand it​ but I ​ have a​ feeling that, even after days and​ days of​ exposure to​ him, you probably wouldnt get the​ whole picture.
Passion, the​ word, may seem descriptive of​ a​ complicated set of​ feelings and​ opinions. Oddly, in​ thinking about Ed Tettemers passion for​ his agency and​ its clients, it​ seems rather simple. Its just that he wants everything to​ be excellent excellent clients, excellent coworkers, excellent marketing solutions, excellent creative executions, excellent everything.
Whered you go to​ college, Ed? a​ question most interviewers ask without expecting surprises in​ the​ response. Never went to​ college. Dropped out of​ high school and​ never looked back. Got my college degree at​ the​ Elkman agency and​ my graduate degree at​ Earle Palmer Brown.
Maybe its best to​ start at​ the​ beginning. Ed was born and​ raised and​ was scared of​ the​ city, living in​ a​ rather parochial environment. His Father was a​ sheriff in​ Bucks County and​ his Mother worked as​ a​ secretary in​ the​ office of​ the​ small township where they lived. Theirs was a​ simple life, a​ good life in​ a​ small town atmosphere. He and​ his Dad fished a​ lot and​ they ate what they caught. the​ vegetables on their table came from their garden except for​ the​ mushrooms they harvested after heavy rains. it​ seemed to​ be an uncomplicated existence far from the​ pressures and​ tensions of​ traditional business, especially the​ advertising business.
Dad was pretty much occupied with his job and​ the​ politics of​ the​ community. Mom was more influential on the​ lives of​ Ed and​ his older brother. Neither parent made strong suggestions about what Ed and​ his brother did to​ prepare them for​ a​ career. They were good people and​ Mom, especially, influenced the​ way Ed has turned out. She was passionate about music and​ books. Ed is, too. She preached, Keep your eyes and​ ears open. Ed tries to​ do that. All she wanted for​ her children was for​ them to​ be happy and​ she didnt try to​ control their every move. Today, Ed appreciates that.
His childhood was a​ happy one. He liked to​ fish. He played a​ lot of​ baseball. He was a​ fairly typical American kid. Then, when he was in​ high school, there was a​ dramatic change. it​ was called the​ Viet Nam War. Consistent with how many people felt at​ the​ time, his older brother took off for​ Canada to​ resist the​ war. That had severe, negative impact on life in​ peaceful Bucks County. Overnight, the​ Tettemer family became pariahs. Friends deserted them. the​ community changed its view of​ them. Church changed. Bad stuff!
Clearly, that situation had a​ powerful influence on Eds psyche. He dropped out of​ high school and​ spent over three years hitch hiking all over the​ country. He found ways to​ make enough money to​ do a​ lot of​ both savory and​ unsavory things. He was a​ confused young man wandering the​ country during confusing times.
But he never lost touch with his Mother and​ Dad so, ultimately, he went home to​ Bucks County and​ found a​ job working as​ a​ glorified gopher for​ the​ Doylestown Intelligencer. He ran ads back and​ forth from the​ paper to​ its small, retail advertisers. He says, I ​ guess I ​ was a​ junior account executive and​ didnt know it. He delivered ad proofs, started helping small stores with their ad copy and​ quickly learned how those small retailers did their newspaper advertising.
During the​ year at​ the​ paper, he got to​ know and​ got to​ be friendly with many of​ his customers. He realized that most of​ them didnt have a​ lot of​ confidence in​ the​ help they were getting from the​ paper. He believed that he could help them do better advertising, advertising that actually worked and​ could be tracked. He doesnt know why he believed that but he believed it.
He remembered Petes Place in​ a​ rather nostalgic way. Petes Place was a​ restaurant in​ Ottsville just north of​ Doylestown. Their ad always ran on the​ same page with other restaurants. All of​ the​ ads were the​ same size, were laid out in​ a​ conventional rectangle and​ had many of​ the​ same messages good food, low prices, family atmosphere, etc.
Petes Place was pretty much the​ same as​ a​ lot of​ places in​ that part of​ the​ country.
Except for​ one thing. Their logo and​ sign was a​ big wagon wheel.
After Ed convinced them to​ try to​ look different, their next ad was designed to​ be round. it​ stood out nicely on the​ page with all the​ rectangles. Someone once said that good advertising should zig when the​ competitions zags. While Ed didnt refer to​ that specific quote during our interview, much of​ what he said about Petes Place and​ about Red Tettemers work seems to​ support that Zig if​ they Zagidea. Ed reflects, I ​ think I ​ made six bucks on the​ work I ​ did for​ Petes.
The result? He worked with mostly small retailers for​ four years and​ developed a​ keen understanding of​ how the​ retailer thinks and​ of​ what it​ takes to​ motivate consumers to​ respond to​ advertising and​ promotion. in​ his own words, I ​ guess I ​ didnt really know what I ​ was doing but I ​ liked my clients, worked hard and​ made a​ decent living.
Marriage followed as​ did a​ move into Center City where he, wife Lyn and​ daughter Jessie still live. His first job in​ the​ city was with the​ old Elkman Agency where he claims to​ have started Knowing nothing. His boss, Creative Director Jim Block, promised to​ make him into a​ copy writer and​ further promised that he would like doing it. Jim did what he promised and​ Ed did like it. He had five productive years there but was always the​ junior writer. He needed more.
Off to​ Becker/Kanter now Panzano & Partners, he soon learned the​ logic of​ focusing on vertical businesses. He was a​ senior creative director there working almost exclusively on shopping center advertising and​ promotion. the​ vertical idea had great influence on him in​ the​ early days of​ Red Tettemer when they spent most of​ their effort with cable TV and​ entertainment accounts.
He was recruited to​ Earle Palmer Brown where three factors influenced his thinking and​ his behavior. First, Brian Meridith, then the​ head of​ creative at​ EPB, showed him how important it​ was to​ have a​ good idea at​ the​ beginning of​ creative execution. Whats the​ idea? Whats the​ idea? was hammered into his consciousness. Second, he formed a​ new perspective about vertical. While its valuable and, at​ times, necessary, to​ focus on specific industries, its also valuable and​ stimulating to​ have a​ broader base. Todays Red Tettemer is​ definitely broad based and​ probably always will be.
The third factor was, perhaps, the​ most important. in​ early 1992, Ed just didnt know what to​ do with his career and​ his growing, positive reputation. I ​ was disillusioned.
I just didnt believe in​ the​ people I ​ worked for.
Fortunately, he was allowed to​ do some free lance work and​ frequently collaborated with Steve Red with whom he had a​ marvelous working relationship. He got a​ call from Steve about working with him on several large assignments. His copy, Steves design skills and​ their ability to​ work together so effectively brought out his assertion, I ​ had the​ time of​ my life working with Steve.
It took Ed three years to​ convince Steve to​ join with him to​ form Red Tettemer in​ 1996.
They live by their mission statement, Energize our clients and​ their businesses. Ed is​ proud when he reports that they try hard to​ make their clients competitors envious. Theyve followed those convictions while moving from vertical client groups into more general accounts. Some of​ their recent acquisitions are SEPTA, University of​ Pennsylvania Health System and​ Hatfield Meats.
Neither Ed nor Steve has much tolerance for​ the​ traditional approach used by many agencies. So, theyve successfully created a​ fun environment. Their office space is​ designed in​ creative ways. the​ décor is​ imaginative but comfortable. There are surprises everywhere a​ conference room with no conference table, eclectic art work all over the​ walls, small nooks and​ crannies with interesting appointments and​ two balconies which allow for​ panoramic views of​ the​ City. the​ physical experience of​ the​ offices is​ sure to​ be pleasant and​ entertaining for​ every age group traditionalists as​ well as​ employees, whose average age is​ under thirty.
Whats the​ smartest business decision you ever made, Ed? Instantly, the​ response is,
Being in​ partnership with Steve Red. in​ fact, that may be my best life decision.
How about your worst decision? I ​ waited too long to​ expand from our vertical focus.
also, I ​ think Ive been too reclusive. Maybe this article will help, Ed.
Fun for​ Ed? Trying to​ understand client needs and​ finding solutions. Cooking. Reading. Joining the​ fire company near his beach home. Remarking that he thinks he made his Mother and​ Father proud. Red Tettemers annual retreat. Family. Many things.
One more question, Ed. What would you do with a​ couple of​ wishes?
Thoughtfully, he responds in​ a​ way that further demonstrates his passion. He says that hed like to​ keep in​ closer touch with all of​ his employees, that he wishes he could reenergize the​ agency more frequently and​ that hed like to​ take time to​ celebrate their good fortune more frequently.
If life is​ dull, if​ you need a​ shot of​ passion in​ your life, if​ youd enjoy being stimulated by the​ innards of​ an ad agency, if​ you respond to​ another persons motivation and, yes, passion, visit Red Tettemer. While youre there, try to​ spend a​ few minutes with Ed. as​ his Mother taught him, Keep your eyes and​ ears open. Youll enjoy the​ visit.




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