Monday, March 2, 2015

A Brief History of LeDuc Creative

In 1972, John LeDuc took a job as a sign painter. He was commissioned to paint the outfield fence of the softball field in Lapeer, Michigan. The image was the Big Boy logo, but instead of holding a cheeseburger, he was holding a softball mitt and catching a fly ball. It was this job that would inspire John to pursue a career in advertising.

John went on to art school, but continued painting signs for Lapeer during summer breaks. While in school, he started painting album covers and when he graduated, John was offered a job as an illustrator for General Motors.

After a year at GM, John went back to Ann Arbor where he opened a studio making T-shirts and signs. It was here that John picked up his first client, Collected Works. Collected Works is LeDuc’s longest standing client and John remains good friends with the store’s owners Rich and Irene.

Eventually, John got married and moved to a location on Dewey St. with an art studio on the first floor. While working at Douglas Anderson Advertising, John LeDuc met John Benson. When Doug Anderson told Benson and LeDuc they would never amount to anything, the pair left the company to start their own competing agency, Benson LeDuc Studios. Over time, Benson LeDuc grew from a two man boutique studio to a 22 man agency with 5 Industrial accounts, a woman’s clothing store, a couple of bars and restaurants and 23 Taubman Shopping Centers.

In 1987, John moved to 1400 White St. where JLeDuc Co was born. The office was located in a studio built above the garage and John’s wife Julaine wouldn’t let people that she didn’t like into the house. Family friends “Peanut” and Michelle joined John as office administrators and project managers. Bill deMink (John’s brother-in-law) started working as a freelance writer and still remains with the company to this day.

In 1999, JLeDuc Co. was purchased and the company name was changed to Ideography. In 2001 John left Ideography to create LeDuc Creative Co., a creative consulting firm. By 2003 LeDuc Creative had transformed into a full service ad agency and the accounts from Ideography began to migrate over to LeDuc Creative Co.

Since 2003, LeDuc Creative Co. has transformed from a traditional ad agency to digital marketing and advertising company. LeDuc Creative has undergone many changes over the past five decades, but reflecting back on the past leaves John with nothing but optimism for the future. “Here I am at the ripe ol’ age of 60, enjoying advertising as much as ever,” John noted, “As my minister brother used to say: I can’t be knocked down, you can’t take away my joy, you can’t be beat me, because I got God on my side.”