Joan French - from a farm girl to a bari sax player in the Fort Branch Marching Twigs Band to a graduate of Lockyear College of Business… the career journey began as a receptionist at a printing plant then to a two-attorney one-secretary law office to finding that dream job at the largest advertising agency and printing operation in the State of Indiana, Keller Crescent Co. in Evansville.
Serving as an Executive Assistant to Fred Thomson, Sr. Executive VP, Creative, for six years, provided a foundation and education in marketing, advertising components and people that no formal college can possibly provide. Working with 125 writers, artists and audio-visual professionals was quite an experience for which I am truly grateful. This stint provided an opportunity to expand my marketing career, and upon the retirement of Mr. Thomson, I transferred to the media department where I promptly began to work on business-to-business accounts such as: Haas Cabinets, Luber-finer, Airtex, Master Parts, Fruit-of-the-Loom, Kano Laboratories and taking on consumer driven accounts such as Certicare Car Care Centers, Magic Chef, Wayne-Dalton Garage Doors, Quaker State Motor Oil, Timber Wolf Moist Snuff, Red Man Moist Snuff, General Snus, Bailey’s Cigarettes, etc.
During this time I also sought my Bachelor’s Degree at Oakland City University. Then I spent over 15 years as the leading media planner/buyer on Heaven Hill Distilleries products including: Evan Williams Black Label, Evan Williams Single Barrel, all Evan Williams Reserves, Hpnotiq and PAMA liqueurs, Larceny, Lunazul Tequila, Blackheart Rum, Admiral Nelson’s, Burnett’s Vodka and many more.
In addition to developing media strategies within budget guidelines, negotiating cost effective and efficient rates along with stellar added-value programs, there were a plethora of activities I negotiated for clients as well, such as:
- Sweepstakes (A Day of Fishing with Bill Dance; Outdoor Adventure of Choice; Billiards at the Playboy Mansion; Fishing with Angler Jason Quinn);
- Sponsorships (B.A.S.S.-Bass Anglers Sportsman Society; CBR-Championship Bull Riding including Bullfighters),
- Special editorial features (Best Kept Secret Band),
- Video segments (Hardware’s House on ESPN),
- Appearances (Bill Dance), and many more.
Evan Williams Black Label was a regional advertiser when the account came to Keller Crescent and now it is the third largest Bourbon brand in the U.S. – and it just recently surpassed two million in case sales. I am proud to say that I was a key contributor to the success of the Evan Williams brand and was Media Director upon the sale of the agency.
Things change and people change which means circumstances change and the new agency, 10over12 Creative was not able to continue in business at which time Media by Joan was born. With all the years of experience and all the contacts and professionals in my arsenal – and my love for the marketing/advertising business -- it was a natural progression in my life’s journey to start my own marketing services company.
The great features of marketing are all the new avenues to reach people and the continual changing and challenges of targeting the right people for the right products with the right mix. It is fascinating, fun and rewarding to be a team leader in the success of any product and/or company. Let’s talk about adding Media by Joan to your team!
Winner of the prestigious Bill Harmon Award from the Chicago Media Association on November 15, 2012 in Chicago at the Wit Hotel.
It is awarded to a media planner/buyer within the print industry to someone that is trustworthy, professional, and provides leadership roles regarding acquiring outstanding advertising programs for their clients that may include print/digital/mobile/social/events.
It is rare that anyone outside the Chicago community wins this award as members of the Chicago Media Association nominate candidates for the award and the membership votes for the winner – consisting of publishers and reps. This was quite a humbling honor.
What's for fun!
Auto racing became a passion when I started dating my now husband. Our relationship started off with local dirt-track sprint car racing three nights a week throughout the summer. Then my husband became a mechanic on a USAC sprint car team which meant racing throughout the Midwest and the east and some in the west virtually every weekend – sometimes we raced two different cities in one weekend. In their third year, the team finished third in the USAC national point standings, which was quite an accomplishment given the caliber of competition. My job was tow truck driver to and from the tracks… as you can image the guys (who all had full-time jobs too) were working on the car until it was loaded and they slept on the way to the tracks… and did the same on the way to another race or on the way home after the races. Looking back, I’m not quite sure how we all did it! All I know is that it was a lot fun; we met a lot of wonderful people and developed cherished friendships throughout the country.
Oh another one of my jobs, in the garage, was to paint the bottom of the belly pan… the guys were successful because they pulled complete maintenance on the race car every week – the team never dropped out of a race due to maintenance issues. I always wanted to paint “OOPS” on the belly pan, but never did…
After the team stopped, we continued to travel to many of the USAC races and my husband would mechanic for a specific driver or team we had gotten to know. I assisted USAC with scoring at many of the races and then after we stopped traveling I began to score the races at our local track for several years. Twenty cars on a quarter-mile track running 12-second laps was quite challenging at times.
In between – and some during the same time frame – we helped start a local community band – my husband played drums – and that wasn’t enough so we started another band… a 17-piece dance band which we enjoyed for several years. The joy we brought to – especially the older generation – playing big band favorites was worth every bit of the effort. Old school friends became close again and we were able to meet and play with many local very talented musicians. During this time frame, one of the former members of the band became a Navy musician and I got the privilege of playing with his personal gigging rock band in Chicago and other cities. It was a time to treasure.
Currently, I just play in a community college jazz band during the regular school season with several very talented musicians - about an hour away. It is a nice experience for students that want to play, and it is good for the older adults to enjoy mingling with the young and encouraging them to continue with their music throughout their lives.