Tom Jordan was never a typical Creative Director. In fact, he hated the word “boss.” He always felt that the best way to motivate his staff was to jump right in and be part of the team. That meant he never stopped creating, writing or contributing to the process. This “lead by example” approach helped make him one of the most influential creative people in Milwaukee advertising. Not only did Tom help guide—and launch—the careers of some of this country’s most successful creative people, but he set the bar at new levels for creative excellence himself.
As a writer and Creative Director, Tom helped take Hoffman York from an aging shop with rust-belt clients and a mediocre creative reputation, to one of Wisconsin’s fastest-growing, creative hot shops. One that quickly began seeing regular features in Graphis, Print and Adweek. And that was even named one of Advertising Age’s “Top 10 Creative Agencies to Watch.”
Along the way, Tom constantly pushed creative boundaries to inspire new ways of thinking. And his work was consistently honored among the biggest awards shows in the country, from Cannes, Clios and CA to the OBIE’s and D&AD Awards.
After Tom was named President and Chief Creative Officer of Hoffman York in 1998, the agency quadrupled in size, opened a Chicago office and saw its work honored twice with the AAAA’s prestigious O’Toole Award.
An accomplished author, Tom has written three successful advertising books, including two on marketing to women. Tom retired from agency life in 2012 and now shoots landscape photography and donates his time to doing public service work for the Women’s Fund and Boys & Girls Club in Door County where he lives.
- 1972 Graduated from Kent State University with a B.S. in Journalism; enlisted in the United States Army and served as a Military Policeman
- 1976 Hired at Brand Advertising in Cleveland as a copywriter
- 1978 Moved to Chicago to work as copywriter for Leo Burnett
- 1981 Hired by TLK in Chicago and worked for Charlotte Beers
- 1983 Recruited to become Creative Director at Hoffman York, Milwaukee
- 1984 Profiled in Winners Magazine, “New Life in Old Agency”
- 1987 Featured in the Wall Street Journal for successful April Fools ads that fooled General Motors with world’s first “five-wheel drive car”
- 1990 HY was subject of feature article in Graphis Advertising Annual
- 1996 Agency was subject of feature article in Print Magazine
- 1998 Tom was elected President and Chief Creative Officer of HY
- 2001 HY named one of Advertising Age’s “Top 20 Creative Agencies to Watch”
- 2002 First book published: “What’s A Saatchi and How Come We Have Two of Them?”
- 2005 HY is recognized for overall creative excellence by the AAAA O’Toole Award
- 2007 HY is again recognized by the AAAA O’Toole Award
- 2009 Second book published: “Re-Render the Gender”
- 2010 Named Alumnus of the Year at Kent State University
- 2011 Third book published: “PurseStrings”, co-authored with Amanda Stevens, Australia leading expert on marketing to women
- 2012 Retired from HY Connect
The Wisconsin Advertising Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony is held every year at the United Adworkers Milwaukee 99 Awards Show. For details and to purchase tickets to the show on October 12, 2017, please visit Adworkers.com.