Mission

WE’RE AN AGENCY GROWTH INCUBATOR

Our mission, since 1936, has been to constantly collaborate with each other and industry experts to help evolve, innovate and grow our membership—small and mid-size independent agencies—in an ever-changing marketing landscape. To ensure we do this, we look for members who bring these Taan brand pillars to life:

 

Open – Fiercely transparent, genuinely interested, curious, humble, personable.

Inventive – Eager to create new solutions as a group and as individual agencies.

Connected – To each other, to experts, to the industry, to solutions, to the world.

Curious – About new methods, new solutions, varying perspectives, different cultures, each other’s business.

 

Ensuring our Taan culture is supported by agencies who believe in these pillars allows every agency to experience growth of intelligence, through the sharing of best practices, management information, processes and technologies; expertise, through cooperative use of the talents, skills and experience of each member; reach, through hands-on affiliations with local independent agencies around the world; personal effectiveness, through education and close, confidential, “trusted-advisor” relationships with other members, where assistance is provided agency operations, new business, cultural health, performance and overall problem solving.

Leadership

photo from Peter Gerritsen

Peter Gerritsen

Taan Worldwide PresidentBoston, MA, USA

Peter assumed the leadership position of our network in 2007, working with member agencies and promoting the network throughout the globe. We view our network as a key ingredient in assisting member agencies, and their clients, in improving their knowledge through better skills, insights and operational processes through a cooperative network of independent agencies throughout the world. The interactions between each member has brought valuable tools to the entire group by sharing ideas that affect the way each of us conduct business. As Global President, Peter’s role is as a facilitator of this shared knowledge. Continuously looking to bring innovative thinking, creativity and support to all the members and their clients.

Board of Governors

photo from Marcy Tessmann

Marcy Tessmann

Board of Governors – Chair EmeritusPresident – Charleston|Orwig Hartland, WI, USA
photo from John McCallum

John McCallum

Board of Governors – Chair EmeritusManaging Partner - Levy McCallum, Root & Toot Glasgow, Scotland Belfast, Ireland
photo from Rodrigo Rodrigues

Rodrigo Rodrigues

Governor – InternationalWeb Site-Apps Committee Chair Presidente - OpusMúltipla Comunicação Curitiba, Brazil
photo from Jean-Marc Demers

Jean-Marc Demers

Governor - North AmericaMeetings Committee Chair Président-directeur général - Agence Braque Montréal, Québec
photo from Bob Goranson

Bob Goranson

Taan Administration and Resource ManagementTucson, Arizona, USA
photo from Roy Page

Roy Page

Governor - North AmericaFounder/CEO of Fuse 40, LLC Group of Companies (Third Degree Advertising / Old Hat Creative / Powerhouse). Specialists in Community-Based Brands.
photo from Nicolas de Winter

Nicolas de Winter

Governor - EuropeAccount Director / Partner - Vandekerckhove & Devos, Ghent, Belgium
photo from Andrew Eklund

Andrew Eklund

Governor - North AmericaFounder & CEO, Ciceron - Minneapolis, MN USA

Legal Counsel

photo from John Feldman

John Feldman

Taan Legal CounselTaan Legal Counsel Partner – ReedSmith

TAAN maintains a formal relationship with the national law firm of Reed Smith, the country’s leading practice specializing in advertising and promotion law. And through their alliance with GALA, (Global Advertising Law Alliance), TAAN members may have access to legal advice and remedies almost anywhere in the world.

Financial Counsel

photo from Jim Locatelli

Jim Locatelli

CPA, Taan Financial CounselPresident – Locatelli and Company Milwaukee, WI, USA

Certified public accountant and an entrepreneur himself, Jim Locatelli took his considerable experience in the marketing communications field and opened up his own distinctive boutique of financial management and accounting services.

History

1936

It all Started

  • In the depths of the Great Depression
  • By Mason Barlow, a small agency guy in Chicago
  • The Goals:
    • “To share experience and expertise”
    • “To provide branch office services”
    • “To help clients expand from regional to national”

A humble beginning

  • Originally named National Advertising and Promotion Group (NAPG)
  • Began with 15 charter members
  • There were no dues
  • Barlow ran the show
  • There were no meetings

1938

Barlow goes out of business

  • NAPG records were locked in a vacated office
  • Milwaukee member, Charles Meissner bribes doorman, gets records
  • Meissner volunteers to lead the group
  • Still no meetings, no dues

1940

First Meeting held in Chicago

  • Meissner elected “National Director”
    • No salary
  • $50 annual dues
  • Name changed to Transamerica Advertising Agency Network (TAAN)

1941

1941-42

  • Annual meetings held in Denver and St. Louis in smoke-filled rooms (ahhh the good old days!)

1943

1943 – 45:

  • No meetings during World War II
  • Communication and cooperation continue

1946

Meetings resume

  • Charles Bohlan (St. Louis) named National Director
  • Proposes making TAAN a corporation – with him owning controlling shares
  • Idea is unanimously rejected
  • Bohlan quits

1949

Meet in New Orleans

  • System of regional governors and regional meetings established
  • One network-wide meeting per year

1950

1950 – 1963: Steady growth

  • But nobody takes notes for 13 years
  • Six agencies join
  • Regular meetings held

1963

Mackinac Island Meeting

  • Vote to limit membership to 30 US members.

1965

Charles “Ram” Ramsey Elected to Lead

  • Retired head of Phillips-Ramsey,San Diego member
  • First head of network not also operating agency
  • Title changed from National Director to President

1966

First International Member Joins

  • Howard Panton, Ltd., London

1967

Second International Member

  • Harrison Marketing Counsel, Toronto

1968

Third International Member

  • Sankosha Advertising Agency, Ltd., Tokyo
  • Instantly becomes TAAN’s largest member

1969

First Non-US Meeting

  • Hosted by Howard Panton Agency in London
  • Jay Tallant’s Denver agency joins (would become TAAN president 1977 – 1987)

1970

Regional Meetings Discontinued

  • Decision to meet twice yearly
  • Second Non-US based meeting held in Tokyo
  • Jack Warner’s New York agency joins (would become TAAN president 1987-1997)

Consultant Hired

  • To determine feasibility of incorporating as a holding company
  • Finding: Not feasible due to independence and diverse personalities of members

Benchmarks

  • Capitalized billings: $36.4 million
  • 19 members
  • 283 employees
  • Largest member: $4.5 million capitalized

1972

First “shared” client

  • Mr. Steak, client of San Diego member
  • 4 TAAN members handle regional media buying
  • Budgets dry up due to franchisee disagreements

1973

TEAN Formed in Europe

  • Trans Europe Advertising Agency Network
  • Formed as sister network to US group
  • US network changes name to Transworld Advertising Agency Network
  • Network runs 3 ads in WSJ

1974

Amsterdam Joint Meeting

  • TAAN President and Board of Governors attend TEAN meeting in Amsterdam
  • Network consists of 19 US members
  • 2 international
  • Average capitalized billings: $3.6 million (about $500K AGI)

1976

Jay Tallant Elected

  • Head of Denver member
  • Required to extricate from agency management by end of first 5 year term
  • President to be paid salary for first time

1977

TAAN / TEAN Meet

  • First joint meeting held in Barcelona
  • Agree to meet “periodically”

1978

New Mission Statement

  • Focuses on “improvement of management systems and skills.”
  • Minimum size established for new members: $4-million capitalized (about $600K AGI)
  • Exceptions considered

1979

Winter Meet in Hawaii

  • Schedule changed from 2 day winter and 5 day summer
  • New schedule: 2 full days, one half day, twice a year, spanning weekend

Conflict Resolution

  • Policy established governing geographic exclusivity and conflicts
  • First Workshop held: In Memphis for creative directors

New Services

  • Computer co-op formed to create uniform accounting system
  • Newsletter begun ($25 fine for not contributing)
  • Expertise Audit begun

1980

TAAN / TEAN Meet in London

  • 9 US members now own their own buildings
  • First joint venture between US agencies: Atlanta and San Francisco handle National Pecan Marketing account
  • Norman Field (London) becomes director of TEAN

1981

Pooling Resources

  • Several members share costs of Dun & Bradstreet, Arbitron, Telmar services
  • Executive exchanges and seminars
  • Morton Simon named legal counsel

1982

Joining hands

  • 4 TEAN members attend US meeting in Toronto
  • Australia, Japan and Hong Kong also attend
  • Gary Lessner’s Hartford agency joins (would become TAAN president 1997 – 2007)

1983

First “Graduation”

  • Phillips-Ramsey (San Diego) outgrows its membership
  • Resigns in order to expand into existing TAAN markets
  • New presidents at nearly half of agencies

Sharing & Caring

  • Knoxville (Davis Newman Payne) produces TV spots for several members
  • Computers now being used for word processing, type-setting, research, media buying, financials
  • Collections become a huge problem: Interest rates top 16%!

1985

Meeting on Cape Cod in Nor’easter

  • New TAAN Plan redefines primary objective: “To promote a vital, confidential, personal resource for the CEO managing his/her agency profitably”
  • Now 23 US members; 4 international

1986

  • TAAN legal counsel upgraded as Doug Wood is appointed
  • Atlanta member, Bowes-Hanlon, is named by Adweek as Southeast’s “hottest agency”

1987

Jack Warner, President

  • Bowes-Hanlon declares bankruptcy (The lesson learned: “We believed our own PR.”)
  • Bill Ling hosts meeting in Hong Kong.
  • First female-run agency joins (Martz, Phoenix)

1988

Managing growth

  • By-Laws changed to eliminate territorial protection
  • Gentlemen’s Agreement to govern competition; conflicts referred to president and board of governors to arbitrate
  • Guest speaker from Apple demonstrates “desktop publishing”

1989

New Service

  • Dallas-based CPA named as first financial advisor to TAAN
  • Average size of members: $17 million capitalized (about $2.4 million AGI)

1990

  • First (and only) TAAN agencies merge: Denver and San Francisco members join to handle Hewlett-Packard business
  • Robert Jan Anjema (Netherlands) becomes president of TEAN

1991

Recession

  • Major meeting topic is survival
  • Rampant downsizing
  • La Agencia de Orci (Los Angeles) is TAAN’s first (and only) Hispanic agency
  • New financial counsel: Dwyne Willis

1992

Recession Worsens

  • Many members now at half size
  • Dan Wieden (Wieden & Kennedy) guest speaker
  • TEAN changes name to TAAN Europe
  • Special workshop held: “Managing Mac in Creative & Production”

1993

Ongoing improvements

  • TAAN Plan 2000 developed
  • Upgrading membership and meeting content emphasized
  • “Integrated marketing” new buzz phrase
  • CFO Workshop held

1994

New ideas

  • Meetings focus on creativity
  • “Re-engineering” concept introduced as LA knocks down all walls in agency
  • Other emerging issues: account planning, database marketing

1995

  • Members report increasing movement to fee-based compensation
  • LA reports failure of re-engineering. Walls rebuilt.
  • Two workshops held: Creativity, Productivity

1996

TAAN’s 60th Anniversary!

  • Lake Tahoe meeting: something called “the Internet” comes up
  • CPA Jerry Langsner named new financial advisor.
  • Pete Gerritsen’s Boston agency joins (would become TAAN president in 2007).

1997

Transition

  • Dramatic drop in membership: 3 agencies bought, 2 out of business, 1 no longer viable – only 13 remain
  • Gary Lessner assumes presidency
  • New members in Atlanta, Pittsburgh and Wilmington recruited

1998

Meet in Sydney

  • Members vote to pay for guest speakers
  • US meeting schedule changed to one full day, 2 half days
  • Side trip to Great Barrier Reef
  • At Napa meeting, agency websites discussed (only 2 members have one)

1999

Sankosha fails

  • Largest TAAN agency ($258-million; 5 offices) collapses amid scandal
  • First TAAN website developed by Allen & Gerritsen
  • Email becomes dominant mode of network communication
  • Most members now have websites

2000

TAAN US & Europe Unite

  • At Dusseldorf meeting, Europe members vote to centralize operations with US
  • TAAN president Gary Lessner to run united network; US and Europe meetings
  • TAAN joins 4 other networks as charter members of Network Summit

2001

9/11, Dot.Com Bust

  • World Trade Center attack and dot.com bust suppress growth, activity for 3 years
  • Agencies struggle to survive, grow, adapt to new technologies

2002

Global Meeting in Amsterdam

  • Vote to hold global meetings every 3 years rather than 5
  • New website goes online
  • US meeting schedule changed to 3 half-days

2003

New looks

  • New TAAN Plan developed: emphasis on improved meeting content, recruitment
  • TAAN recruitment video shot at Kiawah Island meeting
  • Two workshops held: Media Directors in Memphis, CFOs in NY

2004

Asian Expansion

  • India joins – recruits new members in Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok
  • Credit card payments for dues, meeting expenses now accepted

2005

Global Meeting in NYC

  • Members vote to hold global meetings every 2 years
  • Argentina, Brazil and Mexico City join, opening TAAN to Latin America
  • CFO Workshop held in NY
  • US capitalized billings: $314 million ($47 million AGI; Avg member $2.8 million)

2006

Mid-east, Africa join

  • Pete Gerritsen elected to become TAAN president in 2007
  • Dubai, UAE and Lagos, Nigeria join, extending TAAN’s global reach to Middle East and Africa

2007

Global growth

  • Global meeting in New York City attended by 28 agencies from 16 countries
  • TAAN membership now at 46 agencies in 29 countries… and growing
  • Pete Gerritsen is new President
  • New website designed by DigitalDay, TAAN’s first all-interactive agency, goes online

Resources

There are tools that can make your life easier and can offer you a competitive advantage when it comes to everyday business. We are constantly searching for the most innovative and reliable resources that bring added value to our industry. All tried and true. You can browse through our approved companies here.

If there is any resource that you successfully use in your agency, please feel free to refer it to us. We are always looking for more resources to help our members.