Blog: Chad Wiebesick

Chad Wiebesick  is a nationally-recognized award-winning digital marketing strategist. Chad has judged interactive award shows, presented at conferences throughout the Midwest, moderated panel discussions, published articles in national magazines, served as president and on boards of professional organizations, and won accolades for his professional achievements.

Chad is the Interactive Strategy Director at Perich Advertising + Design, a full-service advertising, design and branding agency in Ann Arbor. He is responsible for growing the agency's interactive revenue and leading clients’ digital media efforts including social media, paid search, rich media, behavioral targeting, display advertising, iPhone app development, and other digital technologies.

As president of the Ann Arbor Ad Club, Chad leads an organization that is the forum of choice for networking among area marketing communication professionals. Founded in 1991, the Ann Arbor Ad Club (A2AC) is a national award-winning chapter of the American Advertising Federation, an organization of 40,000 professionals that represents the advertising industry in its entirety. A2AC is devoted to increasing recognition for the advertising industry, giving back to the local community, and enhancing the professional development of members.

Chad Wiebesick - Most Recent Posts:

Chad Wiebesick - Post No 4: Ann Arbor Advertising Awards Show Honors the Best in Creative Excellence


Each year Ann Arbor hosts the area’s most revered and anticipated advertising awards show – the Ann Arbor ADDY Awards. With hundreds of local entries and the chance to compete nationally amongst 50,000 entries, the stakes are high and the competition tough.

Conducted annually by the American Advertising Federation (AAF),
the local Ann Arbor ADDY Awards is the first of a three-tier, national competition. Local winners from Ann Arbor continue to the regional level, competing against winners from Michigan, Illinois, and Indiana. Regional winners then compete nationally. Entry in the local ADDY competition is the first step toward winning a national ADDY. The ADDY Awards is the advertising industry's largest and most representative competition, attracting over 50,000 entries every year across the nation.

The Ann Arbor ADDY Awards recognizes exceptional advertising created in Washtenaw County and throughout Southeastern Michigan. The awards honor advertising excellence in all media including print, broadcast, online, out-of-home and public service advertising.

This is Ann Arbor’s 14th year in hosting the ADDY awards competition. In the past, Ann Arbor firms have won at the national level. Can Ann Arbor repeat history? It’s an incredible opportunity for national recognition. Last year’s national winners included work from BBDO, Deutsch, Leo Burnett, Ogilvy, and a host of smaller shops.

A panel of outside judges will gather in Ann Arbor in late January to select the local winners out of over one-hundred anticipated submissions. Last year, work was entered for the Ann Arbor Public Schools Educational Foundation, Detroit Institute of Arts, Saleen Automotive, Walsh College, and many other companies. Only the most creative advertising campaigns win in their respective categories.

The ADDY’s is the Academy Awards of Ann Arbor advertising. The awards are prestigious and the ceremony is exquisite. You’ll feel at home wearing a tuxedo or gown, drinking a cocktail, and mingling with the city’s best and brightest advertising and creative executives. The Ann Arbor Ad Club ADDY awards winners will be honored during a gala on February 19th at the University of Michigan’s Rackham Graduate School. Proceeds from the ADDY awards help support the Ann Arbor Ad Club’s educational programs, public service projects and proactive government relations efforts.

To be eligible for consideration of an ADDY, all work must have been published or aired between January 1st, 2009 and December 31st, 2009. Entries are welcome from members and non-members and must be received by 5 p.m. before January 18th, 2010 at either University Litho, 4150 Varsity Drive in Ann Arbor or at Print Tech, 6800 Jackson Road in Ann Arbor. For more information, contact Blaine Aldrich at (313) 660-4122 or email Or, just drop me a line.

Chad Wiebesick - Post No 3: Michigan’s Growing Film Industry – How Ann Arbor Marketers Can Get a Sli

Hilary Swank. Minnie Driver. Clive Owen. Drew Barrymore. Michael Cera (“Superbad” and “Juno”). What do these actors have in common? They all starred in films shot here in Washtenaw County this year.

The state of Michigan is building a burgeoning new film industry to rival Hollywood. Michigan offers the biggest film incentives in the nation, up to an incredible 42% tax break for films produced in the state. It’s a gamble that’s paying off.

Before the film incentives were passed, two movies were made in Michigan in 2007. In 2008, that number grew to 35, generating approximately $120 million in revenue for the state. Nearly $60 million went directly to Michigan residents who worked on those films. And this year - that number of movies has so far skyrocketed to 85. The film industry has created 3,000 new jobs for Michiganders, according to the Michigan Film Office. The trailblazing film incentives are clearly working.

And it is working to bring business to Ann Arbor. The 4-day shooting of “Youth in Revolt” (starring Michael Cera) generated nearly $250,000 in revenue for local Ann Arbor businesses, from restaurants, hotels, beauty salons, and marketing services / printing firms. Conor O’Neill’s served food to cast and crew. Downtown Home and Garden sold sun hats and patio umbrellas. Sign-o-Rama printed signs for parking and set operations.

How does the growing Michigan film industry directly impact local marketing communication professionals? In many ways marketers can expect to benefit from movies made here. Films need public relation specialists, graphic designers, artists, illustrators, photographers, and copywriters. By way of example, Jim Burnstein, Director of University of Michigan’s Film and Video Studies Program, was an advertising copywriter before he began his film career as a screenwriter.

Like the marketing industry, breaking into the film business is all about networking and getting to know the right people. To that end, the Ann Arbor Ad Club recently hosted a panel discussion about the Michigan film industry and how local marketers can profit from Michigan’s money-making movie industry. The event was well-attended by the public and members of the press. An illustrious panel of speakers suggested three places to start:

First, read Michigan Movie Magazine, a bi-monthly publication devoted exclusively to the growing Michigan film making industry. The magazine sells on the newsstand (and at Borders) for $4.95 and this month’s issue reviews the Red Dawn remake filmed in Michigan.The magazine is a good way to get up to speed on current developments with the Michigan film industry. Chris Aliapoulios launched the magazine after serving as a Ford Motor Company executive for twenty years, testament that outsiders can break into the field with hard work.

Second, visit the Ann Arbor Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.This organization has an initiative to bring Hollywood filmmaking to Ann Arbor. In-state and out-of-state film producers turn to them in choosing filming locations, finding places to stay, selecting places to eat, purchasing set props, etc. Make sure you introduce your marketing company to their office and get on their referral list.

Third, attend a film industry training workshop to network and mingle with like-minded people and potential clients. The Michigan Film Office has a list of workshops and seminars: Dozens of training programs are quickly springing up to fill demand

Drop me a note if you’ve picked up business from the film industry. I’d love to hear from you.

Chad Wiebesick - Post No 2: How Would You Rebrand Detroit?

If there were ever a city in recent American history with as much discussion about its dramatic demise, it would be Detroit. The news is sobering:  A staggering three out of ten Detroit residents are unemployed  – the worst in the nation among big-city populations. Three out of four freshmen do not graduate high school. And since 2007, houses have been cheaper than cars.

Fortunately, a number of organizations are improving the situation. The Detroit Economic Growth Corporation and the Downtown Detroit Partnership, for instance, are two non-profit organizations whose mission is to make Detroit a better place.

One unexpected organization making a difference, in particular, is the largest magazine publisher in the U.S. – Time, Inc.

Time Inc. purchased a 95-year old, 3-story, 5-bedroom house in Detroit this summer for $99,000, four times the median price of a Detroit house. The magazine sent several reporters on special assignment for one year to live in and report on Detroit. The journalism is intentionally positive, chronicling the hope and opportunities along the city’s road to recovery.

But Time magazine sought out yet another way to make a difference. Detroit has an image problem. In support of Detroit’s efforts to reinvent itself, Time magazine turned to one profession whose livelihood is influencing behavior, shaping perceptions, and understanding human psychology – advertising and marketing.

invited several Detroit-area advertising agencies to a competition. The challenge? Develop an ad campaign to promote the city as a desirable place to live, work, and play. Five ad agencies participated, including Campbell-Ewald, McCann Erickson, Leo Burnett, Doner, and GlobalHue.  Strategies and campaigns varied widely. One featured Kid Rock. Another, a help-wanted ad. So, what did some of the brightest advertising minds come up with? You can get a glimpse of the inspiring campaigns on Time’s Detroit blog.

donated nearly a half million dollars of free media exposure to promote the campaigns in Time magazine,, and elsewhere. The public voted for their favorite campaign and the winner was announced at the prestigious “D Show” advertising award ceremony earlier this month (VIP tickets cost $200).

The public voted Campbell-Ewald the winner. The campaign stars Ro Spit, a local hip-hop artist and owner of Burn Rubber, a sneaker boutique whose shoes are worn by national artists like Mos Def. Ro Spit talks about what makes Detroit a great place for art, creative, music, and fashion. Campbell-Ewald’s magazine print ad incorporates a cutting-edge QR code that takes people to A QR code is essentially a high tech bar code that when photographed by a smart phone, takes people to a mobile website. The mobile site features a testimonial video of Ro Spit discussing why he loves Detroit.

If you missed the D Show and would like to see these campaigns in person (free of charge), the Ann Arbor Ad Club was given permission by Time to share them with the public. The inspiring campaigns will be on display at Conor O’Neill’s (318 South Main Street, Ann Arbor) on Thursday, December 17th from 4 pm to 7 pm.  Come see their work and comment, criticize, and praise.

Chad Wiebesick - Post No 1: Advertising & Marketing In A2

Ashlynn McGill of Steve’s Custom Signs is new to the Ann Arbor marketing community. Like many of us, she wants to grow her business and her career. In addition to being socially adept, Ashlynn is also smart – she accelerated from zero to one-hundred by getting involved in local networking groups. Only a few months into Ann Arbor, she quickly landed a client while networking at a professional organization, the Ann Arbor Ad Club. She is one of hundreds of local marketers accelerating their career by joining professional marketing groups.

In this regular series, we will reflect upon the trials and triumphs of the local marketing industry as we weather the economic storm. We’ll dive into what it means to be a marketing communications professional in our area, reveling in the glitz and glamour of Mad Men themed advertising award shows, to caving under the crushing blow of hearing widely-known ad agency BBDO closing its Detroit office and laying off hundreds of employees. We won’t focus on sob stories. We’ll feature success stories. We’ll celebrate the unsung heroes in our marketing community that are growing their business, prospering in pessimistic times, and making a difference. We believe the darkest nights are when the stars shine brightest.

In spite of these tumultuous times, the Ann Arbor marketing community is surviving. Perhaps tepidly thriving. For someone new to the field looking to break in, or a seasoned professional looking to network, Ann Arbor offers nearly a half-dozen marketing professional organizations dedicated to helping marketing communication professionals grow their career and their business.

Derek Mehraban, CEO of Ingenex, launched the networking group LA2M just two years ago. LA2M, which stands for Lunch Ann Arbor Marketing, has grown from a few dozen attendees to attracting well-over 60 people – each week. heralded LA2M as a “Rising” organization in their “Rise and Fall” barometer.

Ann Arbor SPARK – a non-profit business incubator – hosts a monthly marketing series titled Marketing Roundtable. Run by leaders of some of the best local marketing agencies in town, Marketing Roundtable is a staple resource for Ann Arbor’s growing start-up business scene. Spearheaded by Sean Hickey of PWB Marketing Communications, monthly programs consists of a moderator and panelists who make brief presentations about various marketing topics, such as how to build an effective marketing plan, naming your company or product, marketing strategies for start-ups, etc.

If anyone has any doubt on the popularity of social networking – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. – consider the following facts: Three-quarters of all Americans use social technology. Visiting social sites is now the 4th most popular online activity, ahead of personal email. And if Facebook were a country, it’d be the 8th most populated in the world (ahead of Japan). Jessica Soulliere, Social Media Communications Coordinator for University of Michigan’s Health System, is keenly aware of the prolific growth of social media usage amongst individuals and businesses. Earlier this year she started a professional organization for social media marketers – the Social Media Club of Ann Arbor. The organization is off with astonishing success with over 200 Facebook Fans.

The Ann Arbor Ad Club is the longest-running marketing organization in the county – soon celebrating two decades of dedicated service and hosting the city’s perennial favorite awards show for the best in advertising and marketing. Called the ADDY Awards show, it’s affectionately referred to as the Academy Awards of Ann Arbor advertising. Winners from Ann Arbor’s local competition go on to compete at the national level. Event attendance to monthly events has doubled this year.

Feel free to contact me at if you’d like to get introduced to any of these networking groups and professional associations.  These are just a handful of the many resources available for local marketing professionals. If you found this article informative or have additional thoughts to share, please drop me a line. I welcome your feedback.