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Friday, April 01, 2016

LEVEL Celebrates 30 Years

When John Foley launched his ad agency on April 1, 1986, it was no April Fools’ Day joke – it was a leap. Foley started his agency using the only savings he and his wife Cindy Case had accumulated: $10,000 with no clients. To convince his wife to allow this to happen, he told her that he would include her name on the marquee, and Case/Foley was born.
“That way it also sounded like you might be hiring two people,” reflected Foley.

Flash forward to today, and Foley’s agency – now known as LEVEL – has evolved to become more than an ad agency. Foley’s still at the helm as CEO and principal brand strategist. LEVEL now has done brand strategy, advertising and positioning for more than 130 businesses worldwide including AAA, Lawson Software, 3M, Cargill, Minnesota State Lottery, Pearson, Mystic Lake Casino Hotel, Coca-Cola USA, Discover Financial Services and North Memorial.
“Solid positioning and strategic consulting combined with revenue-generating creative have set LEVEL apart from the competition and kept loyal clients,” said Foley. “We have become known as the ‘thinking person’s’ agency in town because we understand positioning and strategy and are effective at helping organizations align corporate values with stakeholder values.”

The diverse LEVEL client base includes organizations in industries ranging from healthcare to technology to entertainment. LEVEL has enjoyed a long tenure with its clients including having served as the agency of record for Medica for 15 years.
So why did the firm change its name from Case/Foley to LEVEL?

“When we started the agency in 1986 most firms were named for their founders,” said Foley. “However in 2006 when I wrote the book ‘Balanced Brand,’ it was important to recognize the deep bench strength of the talent at the agency and to revitalize the brand to reflect changing times in our industry. Changing the name to LEVEL signaled to the market that we were evolving and had transcended the original principals.”

Besides Foley, the LEVEL leadership team includes: Lois Dirksen, president and principal brand strategist; Kim Thelen, vice president, strategic planning/client service; Gregg Byers, creative director; and Laura Shiue, vice president, strategic marketing media.