Consider it “Mad Men,” Maine-style. A tight-knit gathering of creative minds, strategic thinkers and media-savvy professionals who labor long hours day into night to grow businesses, fuel economies and communicate with the masses. It’s a daily grind of high stakes and provocative glamour. For the Ad Club of Maine’s end-of-year party, it’s social reality inspired by period TV.

“It’s our annual board meeting and party,” said Amber Caron, outgoing board president and senior account executive in public relations/public affairs at Kemp Goldberg Partners here in Portland.

“We’ve had a great year,” she said, welcoming guests to The Portland Club soiree. “Membership is up, we’ve just launched our new website and we’ve seen a really nice influx of people who want to be a part of our community — printers, freelancers, broadcasters, photographers and publicists. It’s very inclusive.”

The Ad Club of Maine is one of the country’s oldest professional organizations for advertising executives, signing its charter in 1923.

“It’s a different environment here in Maine,” agreed Kate Bachman, a fellow public relations account executive at Kemp Goldberg and board member of the Maine Public Relations Council. “Relationships matter more here. The whole ‘rising tide lifts all’ (idea) really applies.”

Speaking to the realities of the advertising world, Suzanne Madore, community marketing & SEO specialist at Kemp Goldberg added, “There is a competitive nature here, but it’s not cutthroat.”

In fact, on this night there was a real sense of openness and camaraderie in the air as members joined together to celebrate outgoing board members and elect new officers.

“It’s Maine, it’s why we’re here,” said Matt Caffelle, creative director at Garrand and board member of the Ad Club. “We can still have our families and get home at night.”

“There’s as much talent in this room as there is in Boston and New York. They’ve all left to come here!” said Tom McPherson of Tom McPherson Photography, laughing. “I like the personal connection now. I’ve had the good fortune of working with many of the people in this room. When somebody likes you, they want you to succeed.”

The organic importance of forging relationships in an industry that can be fiercely competitive and attempting to strike ahead of the curve is what keeps the Ad Club of Maine relevant in an ever-changing industry and economy.

“This is a social opportunity to connect with each other and share ideas and things that are going on now,” said Alex Kemp, partner at Kemp Goldberg. “It’s always been a very social industry here in Portland.”

In keeping with that air of mystique, not to mention the theme of the evening, one gentleman stands out for his vague resemblance to Roger Sterling, the fictional founding partner of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce on “Mad Men,” the AMC television drama.

“I have been an ad man for thirty-five years,” said Dan Routh of Routh Creative, board member and co-chair of the pro-development committee. “When I started in 1979, there were still a few of these guys around. People had bars in their offices and they smoked. I was taken with the whole thing. Agencies are reinventing themselves now.”

“You need a dynamic community to re-invest in itself,” said Sam Surprise of Surprise Advertising in Portland. “Good businesses are investing now in themselves, and then they need us.”

Lauren Myers, newly elected board president and production designer for The Via Agency, said she looks forward to the next two years of her tenure with the Ad Club of Maine with the hopes of keeping things both fun and relevant.

“My number one priority is to get the Broderson Awards launched and successful. This is the first year we haven’t had an agency run the event,” she explained, mentioning the widely anticipated Brodies, as it is sometimes known, held this year on Nov. 7 at Port City Music Hall. “And also, trying to keep a balance. We’re a social and educational club, and we’ll try to bring in new and exciting events.”

For more information about the Ad Club of Maine, please visit For more information about the Broderson Awards, please visit

Margaret Logan is a freelance writer who lives in Scarborough. She can be contacted at:

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