March 16, 2021
Near the end of 2020, agency partners and creative directors Jeff Regenold and Jim Swanson celebrated their 20th anniversaries with Performance Marketing. Our creative leaders are very humble, and we can already hear the “aw, shucks!” coming from their virtual offices. But from Y2K to COVID-19, they’ve led us through an enormous amount of creativity and evolution.
Shortly after the birth of Performance Marketing, Jeff and Jim were handpicked by our agency president, Kevin Lentz, to be the creative department. So, we can only imagine they left behind their 2000-era dreams to become part of the PM crew (see photos below for our best guess as to what they were up to). Kevin was looking to form a different kind of agency — one where employee empowerment was more important than hierarchy, where client work was as purposeful as it was creative, and where big egos didn’t define the culture.
They were a perfect fit for that vision. Jeff and Jim brought with them skills of design, illustration, master photo editing and strategic thinking. And in a time when clients were sending edits by fax machine, Kevin was sharing his ideas via pager, and desktop computers weighed as much as 2000 Geo Metro Hatchback*, Jim and Jeff were a natural fit to construct the PM creative department.
*Editor’s note: A 2000 Geo Metro Hatchback weighed 1,895 pounds while a 2000 eMac weighed 50 pounds, and a 2000 iMac G3 weighed 38 pounds. This is a ludicrous comparison — as ludicrous as Jim’s mustache back in the day.
After establishing a foundation as a dedicated two-person creative team, Jeff and Jim helped choose copywriters and designers to add dimension and new talent to the department. Over the years, they made smart hires and helped foster a creative culture where people want to work — and want to stay. (Heck, you’re still considered a newbie to the department if you’ve been here for five years. That’s not something you’ll find at every agency.) Jeff and Jim helped build PM’s reputation through strong concepting, great print campaigns and visual storytelling with storyboarding. It was never about winning awards, but rather about finding the best solution for the assignment — an approach that has made for countless successful campaigns and happy clients.
Our agency has continued to evolve over the past 20-plus years, as have the tools we use, the nature of marketing, and the demands on our creative team. We’re more focused on digital and motion, for instance, but one thing’s remained constant – our leadership.
Jim’s passion for illustration hasn’t left him. In fact, you can still find him with a beautiful array of drawing utensils, and some may even call him a pencil snob. He’s our confidant, our coach, and always has an eye on the future of our agency, making sure our vision from when we started — to be something better — remains intact today and tomorrow. And, as the founder of “Bow-tie Tuesday,” he really classes up the joint.
Jeff’s passion for photo editing and illustration also remains intact. He’s an absolute wizard in Photoshop. Every designer and art director turns to him when a complicated challenge falls on their desk. He is a master and often reminds us of how lucky we are to have multiple undos and the use of layers.* He leads us through our day-to-day challenges, helps us concept, pushes us creatively and makes us better designers, illustrators, art directors, writers and animators.
*Editor’s note: To travel back in time to see Photoshop 1 in action, check out this clip by Creative Live. It’s giving us full-on Jeff vibes.
Who knows what the future will hold, but we know, given Jeff’s and Jim’s leadership through good times and uncertainty, through new technologies and evolutions in the marketing landscape, we’re optimistic and confident.