Kip Cornett, father of beardvertising, talks creativity in Kentucky

Remember the beardvertising billboards we wrote about last year, created by ad agency Cornett? Well, Kip Cornett the ad agencies founder and namesake has been interviewed in the Kentucky paper, you might want to glance at it. Meanwhile, the Dollar Shave Club became and actual beardvertising client. Ironic media placement FTW.

--- Martin: In your conversations with potential major clients, is it ever a challenge to convince them that Lexington has a robust creative community or is it just assumed that this can be done from anywhere?

--- Cornett: You have struck a nerve. Going back 30 years, there were a lot of people that blazed this path including Mary Ellen Slone, who was the first person in my view to create an agency here. For the last 30 years I've been trying to do some things in this market to convince people that this is a market that has a robust creative community, has the ability to do incredible things. But it has to be nurtured and it also has to be supported at the same time.

I think the one thing that Lexington has progressed mightily in just the last eight to 10 years, and even more so in the last three to five, is that you're really seeing a lot of creativity going on in this market and I don't necessarily mean in the advertising and marketing and communications space.

But if it's not supported in the right way, it will go away. There is a really interesting story about Toyota's migration to Texas, which is costing the state of Kentucky literally thousands of jobs. And the reason they're going to Texas? Yes, there were some tax incentives, but they said the number one reason was to get new creative thinking. They felt in Texas there was a different culture, there was more emphasis placed on creativity.

Here's a company that took millions and millions of dollars (from Kentucky) because they wanted to go where the creative juices were flowing. So what does that tell us? Support those creative juices.


When you're done reading the interview, visit Cornett's "About Us" page, which is like an agencywide show and tell. Instead of the usual headshots, you get photos of the ten things each employee can't live without. This includes everything from their dogs (Beth Bell and Shannon Adams), their kids (the aptly named Nick Child, Savannah Williams and Chris McNamara), to their rocking cowboy boots (Mary O'Brien).

about the author

Dabitch Creative Director, CEO, hell-raising sweetheart and editor of Adland. Globetrotting Swede who has lived and worked in New York, London, San Francisco, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Stockholm.