It’s 2019… and we’re almost old enough to buy beer.
Despite some folks’ prediction of an early crash-and-burn (or perhaps burnout), Red7e reached the ripe old age of 20 this month. It seems like a good time to refresh our logo, launch a new website, and maybe reflect on what we were back then.
For the 25 years prior to 1999, the agency went by something involving founder Tom Halbleib’s surname. In 1998 the iteration was Halbleib/Beggs. Tom’s partner, the legendary ad writer Bob Beggs, had recently retired.
Then, at the start of 1999, the region’s advertising world was abuzz with the audacity of an agency branding itself “Red7e.” It seemed absurd, frivolous, unbecoming of a serious profession. Nobody knew what it meant, or why on earth we would brand ourselves something so out of the box. But the name was meant to have just that effect.
We were a different kind of agency, with a creative product that broke rules, stood out, and changed minds. We figured if our name were to appear on a list of ad agencies, it should be the name that would lead client prospects to expect something different, not the same old tired BS.
20 years ago we were actually a little larger than we are today, both in billings and in the size of our tribe. Our primary clients were Churchill Downs, Hilliard Lyons, Heaven Hill Distilleries, the Kentucky Cabinet for Health Services, Cousin Willie’s Popcorn, Western Baptist Hospital, Louisville Slugger Museum, Tobacco Road convenience stores and the Louisville Science Center.
For the upstart Red7e, 1999 proved a great year for winning awards. Red7e won a total of 50 Gold and Silver Louies (now called ADDYs) — more than any Kentucky ad agency. We collected multiple Gold awards (including Judges Choice Award for a statewide TV and radio campaign for teen pregnancy prevention. Other Gold award winners included TV and print advertising for Hilliard Lyons, outdoor advertising for Churchill Downs, point of sale advertising for Fighting Cock bourbon, a magazine ad for Evan Williams Single Barrel bourbon, radio commercials for Tobacco Road, and two different logo designs.
Today Red7e has become an established brand, recognized for great work regionally and nationally. Most have come to expect bold and fresh creative of us. In fact, our name has become widely used as an adjective, as well as a noun . . . as in, “Oh, that ad is so red7e!”
So here’s to not growing up. Here’s to staying on the edge, with wide open eyes, curious minds, and with a youthful passion for shock and awe. Here’s to never losing our “red7e.”
Red7e Promo Video, circa 1999
Hilliard Lyons Print Ads, circa 1999
Evan Williams Print Ad, circa 1999