ANN ARBOR, Mich. – (October 11, 2012) This October, Ann Arbor’s Perich Advertising + Design celebrates 25 years of developing audacious branding and design for regional Detroit and national brands. From its humble beginnings in a renovated car dealership in downtown Ann Arbor, Mich., the firm, founded by Ernie Perich, has been creating simple, striking and unexpected work for local clients like Walsh College, Bank of Ann Arbor and the Detroit Institute of Arts, as well as nationally recognized brands including GM Fleet, Carhartt, Lacoste, Whirlpool and more.
In October 1987, just prior to the Black Monday stock market crash, Ernie Perich and wife Shirley, opened the doors to Perich Advertising + Design. Ernie, Shirley and their team of five employees worked hard to make a name for themselves in the Detroit advertising scene, while being extremely resourceful with their day-to-day business. They glued together sheets of paper to make note pads, built their own desks and were paid with personal, handwritten checks. Their one Macintosh computer, largely ignored by the creative team, was used primarily as a word processor.
After creating award-winning campaigns for the regional savings and loan and Ann Arbor-headquartered Great Lakes Bancorp, the firm’s big break came in 1995, when Perich was selected as the agency of record for Borders Books and Music, which at the time had 30 stores and was poised to grow to 300 stores. The national account doubled the size of the agency’s staff. Soon Reebok, Harman International and Janus came to Perich for strategically sound, bold creative solutions. French apparel maker Lacoste selected Perich over a number of New York agencies in 1998 to re-launch the brand in the U.S.
Today, Perich has about $25 million in capitalized billings and 30 employees. Four of the original seven founding employees are still with the company. Most employees have been at Perich for more than 15 years. The loyalty stems from the unique, family-like culture at Perich. There is no employee handbook or written policies, but an unspoken agreement of mutual trust and respect.
Perich’s clients have been equally loyal to the agency not only for its audacity and attention-getting approach but for the results generated:
- “We buy Ernie and his company’s philosophy,”said Ken Hayward, Executive Vice President of the Grand Hotel. “We trust Perich to protect our traditional brand, but also challenge them to bring us into the current industry landscape to make sure we are still fresh and new.”
- “So many people rave about the campaign that I have to hide at cocktail parties,” said John Lichtenberg, former CMO of Walsh College and Perich client.“I know I’ll never be a part of something so important again in my career as the work we did together.”
- “Thanks to these guys, we’ve seen business grow, have lost weight, our teeth are whiter, and our wives are better looking,”said Tim Marshall, President & CEO of the Bank of Ann Arbor. “They made it hip to be a banker.”
Perich has earned the respect and recognition from peers in the industry as well.
- “As a consultant and colleague, I had the pleasure of sitting in on a pitch to a new client with Perich,”recalls Tony Mikes, founder at Second Wind. “It was the only time I’ve ever seen a client get up out of his chair and give an agency a standing ovation at the end of a pitch.”
Looking ahead, Perich is committed to sharing its philosophy of audacious, simple creative with its current clients and new brands across the automotive, healthcare, tourism, higher education and cultural industries.
“Over the past 25 years, we’ve been fortunate to work with amazing clients that trust our audacious approach and have hired a first-rate team of creative thinkers who consistently produce work I’m truly proud of,” said Ernie Perich. “I’ve learned a lot throughout my career, but the thing that makes me get out of bed each morning is the excitement of knowing that the next audacious idea can be just around the corner. When this business is at its best, it’s just unbelievably fun.”