AdForum interviews Kevin McKeon & Jurene Fremstad

Two of Olson's own talk about empathy in advertising, ICF growth, and new work.

Olson's own Kevin McKeon and Jurene Fremstad–CCO and SVP of Strategy, respectively–were interviewed this week by AdForum about topics around the agency's partnership with ICF, a refreshed people-centric view around marketing, and some recent work for Belize that's gotten a lot of attention in the travel world. 

The interview is a unique look into the agency from the perspective of two people at the helm of driving its creative and strategic vision.

We especially enjoyed the exchange between the three about the agency's place in Minneapolis and in the world as a whole:

AdForum: As the largest agency in Minneapolis, how do you stay above the curve as a leader in the industry? Also, what do you think it is about having the Midwest, and specifically Minneapolis, as your home base that has factored into Olson building a culture of cool and fun people that seems so evident in the work you produce?

Kevin: We like to say, we’re not a Minneapolis agency; we’re a world-class agency that happens to be in Minneapolis. That’s a tall order. But we want to compete with the best agencies anywhere. Why not? So we’ve been looking far and wide for the best talent out there—sometimes way out there. Our most recent creative hires have come from Sao Paulo and Dubai. But, there’s very good talent here in town, too.

There’s something incredibly refreshing about being in the Midwest. I’ve spent my entire career in New York, and had clients often remind the agencies that the world doesn’t end at the border of Williamsburg or Times Square. So we get it. We live here too.

Jurene: That’s important. Being Minneapolis-based ensures that we’re culturally connected to the majority of the country. We avoid the "coastal agency blindness" that’s so prevalent in our industry. Having done the New York thing, both Kevin and I have had our fair share of colleagues (okay, maybe sometimes ourselves, too) who mock up a new subway poster campaign … for a client in St. Louis. When you live in that bubble, it's easy to get stuck thinking that everyone lives like you do, but of course, most people don’t. Our philosophy, our geography and our people ensure that we stay grounded, and always creating from that place of empathy.

Click here to read the full article by Ad Forum's Jeff Finkle. 

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