Cramer-Krasselt - Chicago, Illinois, USA
Born in Europe to Russian/Polish parents, Peter came to the U.S. at the age of seven speaking three languages. English was not one of them.
His career in advertising was purely accidental. While in prelaw, he randomly picked a course in advertising to fill out his semester schedule. It launched his career (after a brief stint as a bartender). He began writing brochures in a large insurance company.
Rapidly promoted, by age 26, he was lobbying for the industry in the nation’s capital. It opened his eyes to corporate pressures and political agendas.
Still fascinated by the strategic and creative aspects of marketing, he joined a creative boutique where he eventually became a junior partner, won numerous creative awards and learned the lessons of meteoric growth and of an equally devastating crash when the senior partners increasingly focused on building their wallets over building their agency through the quality and sophistication of its products.
He left, shifted to account management, and joined Leo Burnett to help manage its second largest account. At 29, he and two Young & Rubicam executives, 10 years his senior, launched Hackenberg, Normann, Krivkovich with $3,000 and quickly won every major award. They were “hot” and had a strong belief in integration and strategic insights as the foundation for breakthrough creative.
With technology, data systems and the like on the horizon, they needed cash to invest. Romanced by the holding companies, Peter instead chose Cramer-Krasselt, a strong Midwestern regional agency. The deal was simple but a big gamble. No personal cash, but money to invest in technology, three years of near autonomy, after which, if goals were met, a strong share in the company. He became president in five years, CEO in eight, additional offices were opened in New York and Phoenix, and the headquarters was moved to Chicago.
C-K is now the second largest independent agency in the U.S., with 42% of revenue from digital, and is fully integrated including advertising, PR, media planning, programmatic buying, digital, social, events, analytics, strategic planning, etc., with prestigious clients ranging from Porsche to Corona Beer to Nikon, and numerous awards from Cannes Lions to the One Show.
Peter has sat on numerous corporate and charity boards, ranging from banks to hospitals to museums as well as many of the top industry boards including the Ad Council, eight years on the national board of the 4A’s, where he founded the very successful Forum groups that are the major membership drivers for the 4A’s today and on the board of ICOM.
He has been named Midwest Executive of the Year, Ad Age’s 100 Best and Brightest, Chicago’s Who’s Who, and featured in numerous articles ranging from Crain’s Chicago Business to Ad Age, Adweek and The Wall Street Journal.