Advertising CEO Fred Bidwell told students to never be afraid of a challenge


Fred Bidwell speaks to the Franklin Advertising club about his experiences in the advertising field and about becoming the CEO of Malone Advertising in Akron, in The First Energy Auditorium of Franklin Hall on Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2014.

Julia Kerchenski

Fred Bidwell, former CEO of Malone Advertising in Akron, Ohio, told students about the ins and outs of advertising and what it really takes to be successful in the field. He offered his opinions on the industry and what he believes is truly important in advertising.

Above all, Bidwell stressed that advertising is much more straightforward than most students realize.

“Advertising, at the end of the day, is basic communication,” Bidwell said. “And clarity is a very important component there.”

Bidwell began his speech by walking his audience through the journey of his successful career.

Starting from the bottom, Bidwell began with the lows of his career. He told students that it is always possible to make a comeback if they know how to work with what they have.

When Bidwell joined Malone Advertising, the businesses had issues.

“I needed to look at that business upside down,” Bidwell said.

In doing so, he turned its disadvantages, like the location in Akron, into advantages.

Under his leadership, Malone Advertising went from 20 to more than 500 employees. Bidwell said it is now the largest activation industry worldwide.

“He is a leader in the industry, not just locally, but globally,” Franklin Advertising Faculty Advisor Wendy Wardell said.

The event was sponsored by Franklin Advertising Association, Kent State’s advertising club.

“Never be afraid of jumping into a new challenge,” Bidwell said. “Never be afraid to learn anything on the job.”

Although geared towards advertising majors, students with a variety of majors were in attendance.

“He made it clear that you can learn anything on the job,” Schae Coakley, a fashion merchandising major, said. “It made me excited about my future career.”

Currently, Bidwell now runs Transformation Station in Cleveland, which is a private museum to show and share collections of photography.

Contact Julia Kerchenski at [email protected].