An EVENT To Remember… And What A Night It Was!

By Eric Cooley

This year’s EVENT took place for the fifth straight year on the historic Seattle Waterfront—in the Bell Harbor Conference Center on Pier 66, to be exact.

Multiple milestones were marked on the uncharacteristically warm Spring evening of  May 25: the 10th anniversary of the MARKETING IMMORTALS; the induction of four new members into the IMMORTALS pantheon (now numbering 59); and the 80th birthday for Larry Coffman, the publisher of  this newspaper for 31 years and the mastermind (with daughter, Melissa) behind THE EVENT.

This gathering is unlike any other awards show in the region. What I’ve always admired about it is how skillfully it pays homage to the giants of the past who built the marketing local communications community, as well as highlighting the quality of creative work in the present.

It’s that past/present paradigm that works so well as a baseline for THE EVENT, adding layers of substance and regional relevance. For anyone with roots in the Pacific Northwest who works in advertising or marketing or broadcasting—and, yes, I’m talking to you, creative awards show detractors—it’s hard not to appreciate the professional and holistic sense of community THE EVENT evokes on this one special evening each year.

Things kicked off at 6pm with a mix-and-mingle cocktail hour,. About an hour later, Larry took the stage to introduce the first of the four new MARKETING IMMORTALS inductees, Rod Brooks, the CMO of PEMCO Insurance, who he called “perhaps the most decorated CMO on the face of the earth.”

Rod briefly traced his steps from boyhood “berry picker” to his present position and stressed the importance of seeking the “winning edge” in any endeavor.

Cheri Brennan (see photo at right) of Alliance Communications, who Larry described as a “PR pro’s pro,” encouraged everyone to follow the advice of Eleanor Roosevelt and “Do one thing every day—that scares you.”

Dick Hadley flew from his winter home in Arizona to attend the ceremony. He recalled an advertising career that included working with Boeing, Ford and leading banks during his career with Cole & Weber and as the owner of his own agency.

The fourth inductee, Janene Drafs, rose from an entry-level position at KOMO-TV to general manager, over a 30-year career. “While I’m on the media side, we’re all storytellers,” she said. “Be it ad copy, press releases or writing content for TV—it’s what ties us all together.”

Coffman concluded the inductions by saying that this “Evening of Recognition” also was an “Evening of Remembrance” for IMMORTALS Bob Walsh and Dan McConnell, who died since the last EVENT.

The showcase portion of the evening followed, as Melissa announced the winners of the total of 150 awards in a fast-paced PowerPoint presentation that held the attention of the audience of 200-plus throughout. Larry was at a side table presenting Big M awards to the first-place winners in each of the 50 categories.

All winners will be displayed in a new publication called—appropriately enough—the MARKETING Awards SHOWCASE, to be published the first week in August. The winners also will be posted on the website at that time.

After the awards presentation, Larry again took the stage to announce introduction of the MARKETING MARCOMM Person of the Year Award,  which is fully described in his editorial on Page 2.

Also described elsewhere (see Page 6) was the surprise of the night, when daughter Melissa came  on stage to lead the singing of “Happy Birthday” to the man-of-the-hour—which soon turned into to his being “elected” a MARKETING  IMMORTAL by acclimation.

Larry’s response was to share the poignant quote by Aesop that “A man is known by the company he keeps.” And he then asked everyone to join in the group photo on Page 12.

Melissa’s three simple words in closing perfectly summed up the evening, “Thank you, dad.”

Eric Cooley is a senior copywriter in the creative department of an IT firm recently voted #4 by the Puget Sound Business Journal among the Best Privately Owned Companies in the Region. He can be reached at



Copacino+Fujikado Leading MARKETING Awards Winner

Copacino+Fujikado led the field of winners in the 2016 MARKETING Awards competition with a total of 10 awards, including four Big M’s and four Silver and two Bronze Certificates. WONGDOODY was second, with a Big M and four Silver and three Bronze Certificates.

Cole & Weber took Best of Show in the eight online disciplines for its Fancy Fingers TV spot for the Washington State Lottery. Puget Bindery won Best of Show in the Graphic Arts discipline for its We Are the Rhoads entry in the Finishing category. (Actual examples of the Graphic Arts entries were judged by a new Technical Subcommittee of the MARKETING Awards Committee).

Five entrants tied with a total of five awards each. They included C+C, AAA Washington, Kitsap Bank, Consolidated Press and Hornall Anderson, which won two Big M’s and three Silver Certificates with its five entries. And all three of Fred Hutch’s awMARKETING Marcomm Person of the Yearards were Big M’s.

There were 400 entries among the nine disciplines, and a total of 148 awards were given to 68 of the 90 entrants at the Sixth Annual EVENT on May 25 at the Bell Harbor Conference Center—which just happened to coincide with MARKETING publisher Larry Coffman’s 80th birthday!

Coffman announced introduction of the annual MARKETING MARCOMM Person of the Year Award (at right). The inaugural 2017 Award will be given at THE EVENT on May 23, 2018. Online nominations and voting will be conducted from Jan. 1 to March 31, 2018. The winner will be chosen from among three finalists by the Executive Committee of the MARKETING Award Committee. Details on the nominating process will be forthcoming this Fall.

From left, the formidable IMMORTALS foursome of Ron Elgin, Ted Leonhardt, Don Kraft and Bob Hacker pose for photographer Klem Daniels, who shot all of the photos of THE EVENT that appear in this issue.
The ever-popular Bell Harbor Conference Center buffet again was a hit with the more than 200 attendees at the annual gathering to announce all MARKETING Award winners.
New IMMORTALS inductees, from left, Janene Drafs, Dick Hadley and Cheri Brennan hold the mementos of their induction.
The fourth inductee, Rod Brooks.
The evening wrapped up with a group photo to toast co-host Larry Coffman’s 80th birthday, which just happened to occur the same day.
Larry blows out the candles on his cake.
From left, Tracy Wong, Kevin Nolan, Peter Barnes and Kevin Burrus break out their best smiles for the camera. Tracy’s WONGDOODY and Nolan’s Craters of the Moon both were multiple award winners, including a Big M for each agency.
Right, from left, Oliver Iversen (back to camera), Pat O’Day and Mike Mogelgaard, a trio of IMMORTALS, stop to chat.
Bob Bayless of Puget Bindery with his Best of Show trophy in the Graphic Arts category.
Cole & Weber president Mike Doherty, left, holds the Best of Show trophy in the remaining eight awards categories. With him is ECD Pat McKay.
From left, Cheri Brennan with her IMMORTALS memento and Floyd Kolmer of Ad Mark Services and Shannon Childs of Kitsap Bank with their Big M Awards. In the background, at right, are MARKETING Awards Committee chair Richard Bendix and Mimi Kirsch of Paradigm Communications.
Illustrator Sam Day is in the process of painting his oil-color depiction of THE EVENT, which appears on the cover of this issue. Seattleite Day has been painting live at events and wedding receptions around the world since 2004. You can contact him at or 206-382-7413.