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ABOUT ME

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I'm a Midwest-based creative leader with decades of experience crafting compelling narratives and award-winning campaigns for some of the world's most respected brands. As a copywriter by trade and storyteller at heart, I relentlessly pursue unexpected, impactful ideas that solve complex business problems and make brands famous.

 

Raised by a high school teacher and football coach, I have a passion for mentoring teams to exceed expectations and deliver winning results, no matter what the odds. Throughout my career, I've been fortunate to work with and learn from some of the best creative talent in the business, across every traditional and digital medium there is. And yes, I've gathered quite a bit of ad wisdom along the way.

 

While I've seen a lot of changes in the tools, technologies, and tactics we use to connect brands to consumers, one thing has never changed, and I believe never will:  Big ideas always win. Not big celebrities, or big productions, or big egos. Big ideas.

When I'm not coming up with big ideas, you can find me making memories with my wife, six kids, and three dogs. 

EXPERIENCE

JAN 2018 - PRESENT

Creative Director / Owner

MANION CREATIVE

Founder of creative consultancy utilizing a network of top independent creatives, strategists, and production specialists to support brands, agencies, and production studios nationwide. Clients include: Explore St. Louis Tourism, McDonald's, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Arizona State University, Metro Imaging, Coolfire Media, Lindenwood University, Paradowski Creative, Antidote Studios, Propaganda, Inc., Geile/Leon Marketing, Ty-D-Bol, Dierbergs Markets.

APR 2021 - APR 2023

EVP, Marketing

BIOVISION DIAGNOSTICS

Founding Marketing Director and executive team leader for a specialty medical laboratory startup. Created a gut health test product (called Victus88) marketed to healthcare providers and launched directly to consumers. Created brand from scratch, producing everything from brand ID, website, social campaigns, affiliate/influencer marketing, packaging, and sales collateral for eight specialty test categories. 

JUN 2019 - DEC 2019

Freelance Creative Director

ZIMMERMAN ADVERTISING

Recruited as a Freelance Creative Director/Consultant to onboard and lead the creative group for the newly acquired McDonald's account (6-month contract). Managed creative teams, established creative processes, produced social, digital, and broadcast campaigns that grew the agency’s McDonald’s revenue across 18 regional markets.

JUL 2006 - JAN 2018

SVP, Executive Creative Director

H&L PARTNERS

Managing agency partner and creative lead for the St. Louis and Boston offices of a multi-regional ad agency based in San Francisco. Led the design and development of integrated campaigns across all agency clients, such as McDonald's, Visit Missouri Tourism, Explore St. Louis Tourism, Touchstone Energy, Mercy Health, Ashley Furniture, Maytag Vacuums, and Discover Palm Desert Tourism.

FEB 2004 - JUL 2006

Associate Creative Director

GSD&M

Creative group lead on Chili's Grill & Bar, the PGA Tour, Frito-Lay, and Lennox. Assisted on new business pitches and other clients such as AT&T, Walmart, Southwest Airlines, and AARP.

APR 1999 - FEB 2004

Creative Director / Copywriter

WAYLON AD

Led creative team and developed award-winning work for Anheuser-Busch/InBev (Budweiser, Michelob Ultra, Tequiza, New Products), Nike, Aetna Health, Allstate Insurance, St. Louis Cardinals Baseball, MaxFootball.com, Busch Entertainment Theme Parks (SeaWorld, Discovery Cove).

OCT 1996 - APR 1999

Senior Copywriter

DMB&B (D'ARCY)

Developed ad campaigns for M&M/Mars (Skittles, Twix, Milky Way, Combos), Coca-Cola NASCAR, and Southwestern/Pacific Bell.

JAN 1994 - OCT 1996

Copywriter

MOMENTUM WORLDWIDE

Writer for on/off-premise promotions and ad campaigns for Miller Lite, Plank Road Brewery, Upper Deck Trading Cards, Brown-Forman Spirits (Southern Comfort, Gentleman Jack, Finlandia Vodka, Pepe Lopez Tequila, Select Brands), 7Up, Interplay Entertainment (VR Sports), and Union Bay Apparel.

EXPERTISE

AGENCY/CLIENT
TEAM LEADERSHIP

I build and lead diverse and multidisciplinary teams to exceed business objectives and client expectations.

BRAND STRATEGY

I steer the development of insightful creative strategies and briefs grounded in data-driven consumer behavior and business goals.

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CREATIVE DEVELOPMENT

I collaborate with cross-functional teams to create culturally-relevant and engaging brand communications that get results.

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PRODUCTION EXCELLENCE

I guide the on-time and on-budget execution of innovative creative content productions across any medium.

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CREATIVE ADVOCATE

I champion great ideas and celebrate creativity across all levels of an organization within any business environment.

TESTIMONIALS

"If you’re looking for someone to lead your creative team with passion and vision, Mark’s your guy. He finds the right balance of doing what’s right for his clients to move the business, but champions against mediocrity and defends the integrity of the creative. He’s always done strong work for McDonald’s, and his reel is full of stellar work for other brands."

Mark Carlson - Senior Creative Director​

McDONALD'S

RECOGNITION

One Show

Radio Mercury

Clio

Print Regional Design

Obie

Hatch

AAF National Addy’s

Mid-America Emmy's

AAF District Addy’s

Austin Addy’s

Mobius

St. Louis Addy’s

Telly

HSMAI Adrian Awards

St. Louis Marketing All-Star

Adweek

Ad Age

Creativity Magazine

Shoot Magazine

EDUCATION

MISSOURI STATE UNIVERSITY

Springfield, MO

BS, Marketing (Advertising and Promotions)

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