Ads, Passion & Party Crashing with Bob Thacker
Bob Thacker is one of the most respected marketers in the country, a driving force behind bringing Michael Graves to Target, and OfficeMax's Elf Yourself and “A Day Made Better."
Working on both sides of the agency/client line, Bob has maintained a level of energy and enthusiasm that would put most jaded 20-somethings to shame, though he usually ends up bringing them along for the ride.
Bob doesn’t just sell you an idea, he helps you find yourself in it, and then shows you how to act. A proponent of making news and not ads, Bob is a master of helping brands discover human ways to interact with people and a firm believer that the best ads don’t just send people to stores, they drive people to each other.
As he often says, “All advertising is party crashing, so if you’re going to crash the party, bring a bottle of wine."
In an interview with Dan Khabie, cofounder and CEO of WPP agency Digitaria, Bob speaks on the industry, good ads, passion, people and reinvention.
Adopt a Classroom
Bob Thacker is executive director of AdoptAClassroom.org, a national nonprofit that supports student success by empowering teachers with funds to purchase needed classroom supplies.
Bob was previously Sr.VP/Marketing for OfficeMax, where he guided brand strategy. He led the creation of “A Day Made Better,” an annual event which calls attention to the dedication of teachers and the issue of underfunded classrooms by surprising 1,000 teachers with $1,000,000 of classroom supplies. He is also responsible for some of the company’s best-known campaigns, including the viral phenomenon “ElfYourself.”
Bob was formerly CEO of BBDO Minneapolis, SrVP/Marketing at Sears and VP/Marketing at Target. At Target, he led the Washington Monument Restoration Project and created “Take Charge of Education.”
Thacker has been honored with the American Advertising Federation’s Silver Medal, the Retail Hall of Fame, Ad Age’s Top 100 Marketers and Top 24 Media Authorities.
Dan Khabie is the CEO and co-founder of Digitaria, founded in 1997. From an original staff of 8, Digitaria now employs more than 250 professionals and is among the most highly regarded digital design, strategy, technology, marketing and data firms in the U.S.
From Digitaria’s early days as a boutique digital creative shop, Dan has worked to add and/or acquire divisions in the areas of analytics, SEO, sports, health and wellness, digital marketing and advertising. With his three partners, Dan has sought to create a genuinely full service integrated digital agency that blends memorable creative design with innovative technology and services, while building a culture that inspires entrepreneurship and innovation.
In 2010, Digitaria was acquired by WPP, the world's largest marketing services holding company, and soon strategically aligned with JWT, the world's best-known agency network. The agency has since tripled in size, adding numerous blue-chip clients and opening new offices.