Dave Remer

Dave Remer • Written 4/27/2018

As a high school dropout (twice) and a divorced father at 16, my career choices were fairly limited. With a young family to support and no real prospects for sustaining employment, I was left to my own devices. What makes this all but unforgivable is that I had been enjoying the perfect adolescent life when I blew it all.

I had lived in a wonderful community and began my sophomore year driving a new Corvette.  All of that changed when I was forced to move from my family home and take up residence in an apartment reeking of pathos and furnished with abandoned, mid-century bric-a-brac. Desperate for immediate income, I grasped for jobs in sales as my life ring.  I was pretty clever and quickly translated my verbal acuity into the dark art of persuasion… with early success. In fact, with most of these jobs I became the grizzled veteran in a day or two.

Sales is, in essence, the lifelong pursuit of a better gig… and I found mine when I discovered automotive retail sales. Every day or so I was awarded some kind of cheap trophy for a particular achievement.  Unaware of the Peter Principle, I was quite entertained by being swiftly promoted through the management ranks to positions for which I was wholly unfit.

I began finding my advertising “voice” at Carter Subaru. There, almost without realizing it, my mindset shifted from sales to marketing, especially with my creation of the “Hassle-Free Loan Car”… a program still alive and well today.  Instead of selling cars, I was selling our point of view.  And the currency had become communication rather than conversation.  I was still selling, but with words and pictures.  Kind of cowardly compared to the face-to-face, belly-to-belly engagements of the sales floor, but still incredibly exciting.

Our marketing programs became famous by category standards and this led me to consider this work as a full-time option.  Soon I was fantasizing myself as a Madison Avenue type—quite a metamorphosis from the archetypical “car guy.” So, based as much on chutzpah as experience, I decided to take the plunge.

In spite of my unorthodox entrée to the ad world and my abject lack of legitimacy, given the respective credentials of my esteemed colleagues, we’ve been lucky enough to earn the praise of numerous award jurisdictions; not the least of which being the Cannes advertising “Festival” in Cannes, France.  We even earned a Gold Lion there… quite a feat for a dozen or so people grinding out creative above Seattle’s most famous steak house.

What has been particularly challenging is taking the same sort of counsel we’ve given to clients over the years (clear and consistent positioning, for example) and applying it to our own ventures. We now have a restaurant in Seaside, Oregon, that we created from the ground up, a wireless application for personal safety and a vacation-rental-home business… all of which exercise our years of experience and provide us a chance to walk our talk… which we do… usually. Taking advice, even your own, is definitely harder than giving it!

As a very late entry to Seattle’s well entrenched ad community, I’ve often pointed my firm toward Wall Street and private equity companies in particular.  The reason: I find reaching out to owners considerably less punishing than reaching out to “managers.” But, while Manhattan is unmatched for prospecting, the Emerald City is where I love hanging my hat, because it’s the city that has given me… and advertising… so much. Yeah, I often work in the Big Apple, but I live here. Very happily.