Enjoy a sneak peek into the EBA world
with this collection of fast facts and short stories.
When we opened in 1994, our first conference table was a ping pong table. We replaced it with a pool table in 2003.
Like Liam Neeson, we do have a particular set of skills that we have acquired over very long careers. Aside from the marketing/advertising thing, our peeps have extreme talents like the ability to create handcrafted furniture, sew amazing quilts, recite the entire dialogue from Full Metal Jacket (I know, disturbing), prepare baked Alaskas, sail across the ocean (ok, maybe not an ocean, but a pretty big body of water), shoot hockey pucks into the groin area at about 80% precision (don’t ask), and grind an award-winning Italian sausage to perfection.
We love downtown Milwaukee and its approximately 213 restaurants. Our account guru R. Farina has managed photoshoots at 134 and enjoyed libations at every last one of them.
At a Christmas party in the early days, we used to do daring feats of stupidity for money which included eating sticks of butter, an entire cheesecake and 14 leftover shrimp tails (a record that still stands today).
A few years back, an EBAer spent time with a cadaver to see the benefits of a surgical instrument in action. (Doctors were there too. At least that’s what he said.)
Partner Don Ellingsen is a world traveler and part-time National Geographic photographer (not really). Check out some of his recent shots here.
Over 85% of our staff loves the Green Bay Packers. 15% weren’t fans of these book covers we designed.
How do you celebrate winning a Pinnacle Award from the International Downtown Association? When you’re in New York City and hanging at Groove Café, this is how!
We once challenged our PR guy who was bragging he could run four seven-minute miles back-to-back by pooling together $200, taunting him along the lakefront as he attempted it. He did not make it. (He didn’t die, he just missed the time by 1:32.)
EBAers have designed T-shirts and run in approximately 15 Storm the Bastille fun runs. Here is what it looks like right before the start of the race. And thanks for asking but no, no EBAer has ever won it. Or in finished second. Or, in the top 1,000.
The EBA extended family is quite athletic. Client Jim Pekar (University of Iowa Football) played in the 1985 Rose Bowl and was drafted by the San Antonio Gunslingers in the USFL. Client Mike Kelley (University of Wisconsin) played in the 2000 Final Four and is Wisconsin’s all-time leader in steals. Production Manager Richard Fix cleared 11’ 6” for the Cudahy Packers in the 1986 Suburban Park Conference meet, placing fourth.
Partner Tim Brady once shot a -10 score at a best ball company golf outing as part of a super team which included Dan Wissink (Schiek’s Sports), Mike Kelley (Rolair Systems) and Dean Poulos (Gauthier Biomedical). Tim contributed exactly one shot.
Our production manager once took one for the team and dressed up as Jethro from the Beverly Hillbillies, and paraded a leashed pig around downtown for a festival called Blue Jazz Barbecue. The pig, named “Junior,” was not harmed, or served. We also produced some TV spots filmed on location in Gulfport, Mississippi (it was really Oconomowoc) with Sheriff David Clarke’s dad as our main talent. Circa 1995.
In 2005, we created our signature micromarketing tactic which has resulted in millions of dollars in sales for business-to-business clients. We can’t post samples of this ongoing effort online because it is truly proprietary, covert ops shizzle. HMU and we will bring them to you.
Known for our PR stunts, we once grilled out kielbasas and Polish sausages (see skill set offering above) in front of a radio station at 3am and dominated the airwaves all morning long. This is when we unleashed our most creative idea ever into the world, The Polka Police!
For our last set, here are three of our more long-winded stories featuring
super-duper bonus coverage that has never been seen before.
Create a word out of thin air
Our hotel client, located across the street from the famed Mayo Clinic, wanted to increase their exposure nationally as one of the top hotel destinations for healthcare patients. EBA created the word “HealthTel,” and worked with the client to add amenities like direct phone lines to Mayo Clinic, special air filtration and room service menus aligned with Clinic dietary options. Our idea of half hospital/half hotel culminated in a nice Thanksgiving surprise on the Today Show.
German Fest was our first client in ’94. They wanted to bring in a younger demo on Fridays, so Don Ellingsen (who spent many weekends at the old Zur Crones Bar drinking boots of beer) came up with the idea to create a plastic boot and sell sponsorship on the “glass.” Lazer 103 gave us $1,000 and Boot Knight was born. Ellingsen also promised we would bartend all night.
Jeff Hall Memorial Pool Tournament Trophy
It really went down this way
The Pfister Hotel was looking to brand their newly created bar which would sit atop the 23rd floor of the hotel, overlooking Lake Michigan. After an exhausting naming session, the group marginally approved the name Sapphire, which one of the Marcus brass had come up with. Agency creative director, Tim Brady, who was a young buck at the time, couldn’t believe it as there were many other better options on the table in his opinion. As the group was breaking up, Brady asked a question aloud. “Doesn’t anyone else here think this is a give-up name? It sounds like a cheesy stripper.” An awkward silence filled the room, then the Marcus president said, “I agree, but what do we have that is better?” Brady said, “What about Blu? Without the ‘e’ at the end. That’s all we see when we’re up here, and best of all, it’s a cool name that currently means nothing. We will define the word.” Then another man in the back said, “I hate it. It sounds like a toilet bowl cleaner.” Hater.