Milwaukee Ad Man Does Service Right

Cause-related marketing has long been a means for the agency community to give something back. Many agencies support causes big and small with pro-bono work.
Now, there’s a new twist on this model thanks to Serve Marketing in Milwaukee–the nation’s first and only nonprofit advertising and marketing firm, according to Utne Reader.

Based in Milwaukee, Serve provides nonprofit groups-what agency president Gary Mueller refers to as “underserved causes”-with marketing strategies and creative services. While causes such as breast cancer research, aids prevention, and drug abuse education enjoy celebrity endorsements and high media profiles among America’s charitable concerns, Serve caters to smaller, more obscure, lesser funded, and sometimes local groups. The Wisconsin-based Shaken Baby Association, the Family Violence Partnership, the Peace Council, and the Brain Injury Association of America are among its clients. Mueller says the agency is a revolutionary vehicle, not only for leveling the playing field among philanthropies, but also for challenging the advertising industry’s uneven approach to nonprofits.

Mueller also works full time as creative director at the for-profit firm BVK. BVK provides funding and support for Serve.

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.