Um, Men’s Wearhouse? You Just Fired Your Only Asset

Not being one to wear tone on tone ties or burgundy shirts with black suits, I don’t spend a lot of time in Men’s Wearhouse. But I had a last minute need out of town once and was pretty impressed by their service. That said, yesterday’s news that they fired their founder and spokesman George Zimmer is astounding.

Apparently, despite a recent company announcement that profits were up an incredible 23%, the board recognized George’s audacious continuation to age. And at sixty four years old, their infinite wisdom deemed him irrelevant in their pursuit of young Millennials. One pundit claimed “An old guy with a gray beard may not provide credibility to the product in the eyes of a 22 or 24 year old.”Dennis Ryan, Olson, Advertising

Indeed. That could never work to drive a brand to relevance and interest, right Dos Equis?

On the upside, this could be an opportunity to energize the brand with aggressive and compelling new advertising… It could be a time to create new relevance with a new voice and look… This could unshackle the brand and allows it to soar to new, unimagined heights for men’s retail…

So why does it feel so inevitable that we’ll soon be seeing some pretty forgettable men’s fashion advertising?

Goodbye George, it was nice knowing you. Say, would you be open to voiceover work?

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Olson


Our Christmas Gift Arrived Today

Everyday, I wake up, mildly amazed by my wife. She’s smart, funny and constantly fascinating and through some lovely circumstance, still married to me. But after all our years together, the gifts you truly value start to evolve. What matters changes.

Dennis Ryan, Advertising, OlsonWhich is why I love this so much. This is our gift to each other this year; an oil painting of our family swimsuits drying on hooks outside our place in Wisconsin. The memories this image conjures in my head–the barefoot days, the happy hours out on the lake and evenings on the porch–make it redolent with joy. But the fact that one of our best friends for many years painted it specifically for us makes it particularly resonant.

I’ve known Marie Kirk Burke my entire professional career. A well-regarded voice over actress capable of becoming anything from a Keebler Elf to a devastating Barbara Walters, we worked together a lot when I was producing radio in Chicago. Later we became neighbors and Marie and her equally hysterical husband Kevin became fast friends for dinners and movies debated over Baker’s Square pies. Over the past ten years, Marie’s re-immersed herself in painting, and we’ve loved seeing her career bloom in showings and Chicago galleries (see more of her work here).

No, you can’t see all that in this painting. But we feel it, that great and mysterious gift of art. It’s like hanging a smile in your living room. And what a wonderful gift that is.


By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Olson