NORTH CANTON, OH—Monday, April 1 marks the 60th anniversary of Crowl Marketing Creative. Founded on that capricious day in 1959 by Ray Crowl, some people thought it was an April Fools’ prank. Sixty years and several name changes later, the advertising agency continues to provide marketing communication services to its portfolio of local, regional, national and even a few international clients.
After 13 years as regional sales manager at WHBC, Ray Crowl left his position to open Ray Crowl Advertising in his West Manor home; five years later, he built an office on Harrison Avenue NW. Ray’s first five clients were Mondok the Custom Tailor, Rice Office Supply, Canton Hardware, Lee Stockon Tires and Terminix of Ohio. Soon afterward, Crowl added Schuman Drugs, Eppy’s Chevrolet, Stern & Mann’s, First Federal Savings & Loan and Reed Funeral Home.
In March 1971, Ray’s son Jeff joined the agency after graduating from Bowling Green with a B.S. in advertising and marketing. Ten years later, when interest rates were 17.5%, Jeff and Mark Clark purchased the agency from Ray and changed the name to Crowl, Montgomery & Clark, Inc. “We worked hard and had a lot of fun. Fear was a great motivator,” Jeff recalls.
The chain of succession continued when Jeff sold the agency in 2007 to Rod McGregor, a long-time employee at the agency. To better reflect the services of the agency, McGregor kept the CMC initials but rebranded the agency as Crowl Marketing Creative. Recently Drew McGregor, Rod’s son, joined the agency after graduating from The Ohio State University. Drew previously was a CPA for Ernst & Young in Cleveland. After 48 years, Jeff Crowl continues to service several accounts at the agency his father founded.
In 2017, the legacy continued when Crowl Marketing Creative purchased another long-established agency, Covey-Odell Advertising. “Our merger with Crowl has been a great match, capitalizing on each agency’s unique skills and strengths,” said Rod A. Covey, executive vice president.
In 2018, Crowl Marketing Creative received the Pillar Award from the North Canton Area Chamber of Commerce in recognition of the company’s longevity, growth and commitment to the community.
“Little did I realize the significance of my parent’s sacrifice on April 1, 1959. My mother Jane, a proud Texan, humorously shared with one of her close friends that she feared they would never be able to afford braces for my sister and me. Fortunately, my sister didn’t need them,” Jeff remembers.
“For a small company to survive and thrive for 60 years is uncommon. But my parents were uncommon people. Starting the agency on April Fool’s Day was no joke.”