Agency, Regional Brands
"Why would we hire an agency from Oklahoma?" Someone said to us during a creative pitch.
"Well, we're from Nebraska. Omaha, actually," we replied.
This response was met with a furrowed brow and a piercing stare.
It's pretty easy for people to take shots at Nebraska. The general population thinks all we know is football and corn. While we do know a LOT about both of those things, I'd say we know a whole lot about good creative, too.
Funny enough, the same person who previously expressed their disdain was left standing and applauding at the end of the presentation.
We were competing against high profile Los Angeles agencies and we wound up winning the business. Thus began my love affair with Omaha.
Here's what most people in the ad biz don't know about Nebraska: we're smart, creative, and innovative, but we never flaunt it. We can't help but reach for bigger and better opportunities on the horizon, but we're respectful enough to know that we're not entitled to anything.
From an advertising perspective, we have large agencies and small boutique shops, and while we sometimes compete over the same book of business, we all have a mutual respect for each other and we genuinely care about elevating our craft, whether we receive industry recognition or not.
That's why I love working in Omaha. Good people who are passionate about every detail of their work surround me. They have a drive that is at once both exciting and unassuming. I'm not alone. Many others love living and working in Omaha. So much so, local web design and development studio, What Cheer, devoted a website to Omaha natives, allowing users to ruminate over their affinity for their hometown.
The enthusiasm here is amazing. For example, take Omaha's national conference on entrepreneurship and innovation, Big Omaha. Every year, a group of nationally renown young innovators descend on our city, injecting new ideas and opportunities into an already thriving creative community. Wired Magazine recently featured a cover article on Omaha's downtown revival and the new jobs created by booming tech towns, such as our own.
On top of that, we live pretty well out here in the heartland. Nebraskans often refer to it as "The Good Life." In fact, Omaha was listed as the number one "Best Value" and "Most Affordable Cites to Live," by Kiplinger's and Forbes, respectively. Forbes also listed Omaha as number five on its list of "Best Cities for Young Professionals."
I'm confident in saying that our creative culture and drive to succeed is on par with (if not exceeds) other bourgeoning epicenters around the country. There is a palpable energy here in Omaha. Nothing against Madison Avenue or other highly regarded global ad agencies, they have their own unique upside, but Omaha is on the verge of something really special, and I'm glad to be a part of it.
What do you think, Omaha? Do you feel the same way?