Business Ripples: Ed Clark
By Mermaid Jennifer
Ed Clark, longtime Spokane ad man, is the male embodiment of Mary Poppins. He's sharply dressed, punctual, and confident. Much like Mary Poppins, those are just first impressions. After 40 years of writing ad copy to promote this region, this one-time janitor, is a friend you'd like to have.
Each morning, before going to work, Ed writes his wife Ginger a poem. He's been doing it for years and it comes easily to him. The ease of composition doesn't lower its value to Ginger though.
"She saves every one," Ed smiles with a twinkle in his eye.
Ed and Ginger Clark
After 42 years of marriage, Ed must be doing something right. It's not only because they enjoy doing things together, but because, "Ginger is the most patient woman on the planet." It's evident that he loves his wife, and loves his life.
The born optimist says, "Life comes at you full and fast. I'm living my dream. I live a life of appreciation and gratitude for family and business opportunities."
An ad man gets his start
Being in advertising, Ed's job is to promote local business. He writes ad copy, comes up with jingles, and even pens lyrics to songs. His work is diverse and began in 1969 as a graduate of Eastern Washington University with a degree in English and Sociology and a minor in Journalism.
While Ed initially intended to become a sociologist, his mother suggested over coffee one day "You're always trying to get attention, you ought to go into Public Relations," Ed recounts.
With beautiful silver hair and wearing a warm pink shirt and tie, Ed leans on his busy desk and smiles as he talks about his early days in advertising. Prior to graduation, he worked as a janitor. As he was emptying trash cans he noticed a discarded "business report" newsletter produced by Thomas G. Hogan, a public relations man in Spokane.
"I picked it up and immediately liked it. Later, with the newsletter in hand, I went to his office to get an internship."
The rest is history, as Ed ended up working with Hogan, and then later for an ad agency in Seattle. "I thought that I could do better than Spokane by going to Seattle. While I did have an idyllic time working in advertising over there, I knew coming back to Spokane to raise our family would be best."
Now with the modern version of that newsletter, "How's Business," produced exclusively by Ed Clark and sent to over 6,000 readers a week via email, Ed is happily selling Spokane on Spokane. His magazine is one of the largest business related "good news" magazines in the region.
The art of words in advertising
Ed is called a "Word Merchant" by his family, but he doesn't intend to put his experiences into a book. He says, "I write 30 second ad copy - that kind of stuff comes easily to me."
Ed whipping up huckleberry pancakes at home
While he has little time for reading, he enjoys biographies and the mystery genre when not attending plays or sporting events. But he has had a perennial enjoyment of writing. "I have always been able to express myself in writing. Words have always fascinated me; the origin of the words, and how each culture has their own word for the same thing."
One of Ed's favorite ad campaigns is one he produced for the Spokane Convention and Visitors Bureau in the late 80's "Come and Visit Your Neighbors," a TV campaign, inviting people from throughout the region to visit Spokane. Ed wrote the lyrics and put them to the tune of "What a Day for a Daydream." It is a favorite because the client was Ed's hometown, Spokane.
More recently he wrote a jingle for Cassano's Italian Grocery using all Italian foods in rhyming order.
Some of his favorite words are, "positive, affirmation, difference, happy, joyous, optimistic, laughter, and giggles," using them as he shares stories about his grandchildren, his wife, or about client work.
Being positive, living a promotional life
Sometimes when Ed is downtown, he stands in the center of Spokane's River Park Square and closes his
eyes. He envisions all of the growth being built up around him through the years. "There's so much vision here. Spokane has become such a cool place. And so many are asking, ‘what more can we do to make this even better?'"
So even in his early 60's Ed has no intention of retiring anytime soon. Work inspires him and his intent is to inspire others. With such a shining attitude, one has to wonder what motivates Ed? It isn't in a stringent exercise program causing him to release positive endorphins, "I started back to exercising today, but I don't do it enough," he sighs. And, while spiritual, he isn't a religious man. He says it's just a matter of perception.
As with Mary Poppins, it really comes down to attitude, and with Ed attitude is everything. "It's not about everything turning out okay; it's about you being okay with how everything turns out."