The goal of an advertising agency is to conceive and write clever, appealing campaigns for clients. Few Twin Cities copywriters did that better than Doug Adkins.
Adkins, a partner and creative director of the Hunt Adkins agency in Minneapolis, was named one of the world’s greatest advertising copywriters last year by Posterama, an advertising website.
Adkins, of Maple Grove, died May 26. He was 53.
“He was creative, incredibly talented and incredibly intelligent,” said business partner Patrick Hunt. “If he only had an hour before a deadline, he could come up with five ideas.”
One of the most memorable campaigns Adkins helped the agency create was for the Minnesota Twins.
“In 2001, the Twins were going through tough times,” said Twins President Dave St. Peter. “We were coming off eight consecutive losing seasons, a failed stadium bid and the future of the franchise was in doubt.”
The Twins increased their advertising budget for 2001 to $1.75 million, the most the team had spent on advertising in 10 years. In early 2001, the agency unveiled its campaign.
“Doug brought a new voice which we desperately needed, and that was to not take ourselves so seriously,” said St. Peter. “What I liked most about Doug is that when we work with agencies, some just tell us what we want to hear. He was principled. At the end of the day, we yielded to his vision.”
The “Get to know ’em” campaign, produced by a team led by Adkins, turned out to be immensely popular. The campaign featured 30-second spots on TV and supporting radio, print and outdoor ads.
“The ‘Get to know ’em’ campaign was a risky campaign,” said St. Peter. “I think that the Twins team had some beloved players, and I’m firmly convinced that the campaign helped introduce the team in a lovable, fun way. We got off to a 14-3 start that season and we were still in first place on July 1. I think the campaign, to this day, is one of the more memorable ad campaigns in team history.”
The campaign included players Cristian Guzman, Brad Radke, Torii Hunter and Jacque Jones.
“Doug was a superstar,” said St. Peter. “He was creative, and we saw his genius early on. He gave us a fresh perspective on how to show up in the market, where the Twins, at the time, were a young team with potential.”
The Twins, who drew 1,000,760 fans in 2000, attracted 1,782,926 fans in 2001.
Hunt said the “Get to know ’em” campaign “was the best and favorite we ever produced.”
Adkins was born to Marilyn and Steve Adkins on Jan. 31, 1967, in St. Paul. The family lived in Fridley before moving to Burnsville when Adkins was in middle school. After graduating from Burnsville High School in 1985, he earned a degree in English from the University of Minnesota.
He began his advertising career as a copywriter for Bozell, a Minneapolis agency. In 1992, he joined the Hunt Murray agency. Three years later, the agency changed its name to Hunt Adkins when he was promoted to creative director and became a partner.
That year he was recognized by AdWeek, a trade journal, as one of the nation’s “hottest” copywriters after he won several high-profile industry awards.
In addition to the Twins, other Hunt Adkins clients included Mystic Lake Casino and Northern Tool.
Adkins is survived by his wife, Jody; two sons, Zachary and Charlie; a daughter, Zoe; his father, Steve of Lakeville, and two sisters, Laurie McElderry, of Ottumwa, Iowa, and Vicki Stephenson of Prior Lake.
An Irish wake will be held for Adkins in September.