2014 Hall of Fame Winner – Joe Hoke — Connecticut Art Directors Club

After high school, Joe saved money to go to art school by working as an attendant in a mental hospital. “It was the best training I ever had for running an ad agency,” he said. “I worked the midnight to eight shift, often alone with 49 mental patients. Learning how to quickly persuade large groups of people came in mighty handy.”

Later, Joe co-founded Mintz & Hoke Advertising along with Alan Mintz. They had one goal: combine smart strategy with wild and crazy creative. Growing and making money didn’t occur to them until much later.

In just three years, Mintz & Hoke earned the reputation as the top creative agency in Connecticut, and one of the top agencies in New England.

To make the creative product more effective, Joe created a brand-positioning model that worked in every consumer and B2B category. Several agencies and one of the country’s largest insurance companies attempted to copy it. Where are the lawyers when you need them?

Mintz & Hoke’s work produced exceptional results and they won more national EFFIE awards (awarded for advertising effectiveness) than any other New England agency and many of New York’s largest shops. This included the top award for package goods, beating Pepperidge Farms and Jell-O.

Joe helped Mintz & Hoke beat NY and Boston agencies to win major accounts in this region, like Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Engines, Mohegan Sun, YoCrunch Yogurt and new product advertising for Lego. The agency then competed outside our region to win clients like Olympic Stain in Pittsburgh, Certain Teed in Philadelphia and Shaw’s Supermarkets out of Boston.

Mintz & Hoke became Connecticut’s largest agency.

The agency has been featured in many national publications, including The Wall Street Journal, Communication Arts, Advertising Age, Adweek and Inside PR.

In 1998, after 26 years, Joe sold his share of Mintz & Hoke to key employees and co-founded Lawson & Hoke, a marketing communications consulting company. His new partner convinced him that after all those years he should be used to his name being second. Today, Joe helps clients create competitive brand strategies, improve sales presentations and beat the pants off their competition.