No one hates sheep like Sullivan Higdon & Sink (SHS). In fact, it is the only advertising, marketing and public relations firm to dislike the animal for 40 years. Even before hating sheep became their mantra, they were giving them the cold shoulder.
Since 1971, the agency has been helping their clients be unsheeplike and stand out from the competition. To recognize the milestone, the agency hosted The Much Ballyhooed Mustachioed Festival of Big Hair at their Wichita and Kansas City offices in October 2011 – complete with music, food, drink, mustachioed photos and fun. The events were a nod back to how great the agency’s hair – and work – was then and now.
“Because SHS is committed to marketing in unexpected ways, we wanted to celebrate 40 years of fantastic work in a unique way with our staff and clients,” said Tom Bertels, managing partner. “We can’t wait to see where the next 40 years takes us – both professionally and follicularly.”
SHS has a history of celebrating milestones in unsheeplike ways. For the agency’s 30th birthday, they celebrated in fish years with a 2Trout Fishtival. Since the average life span of a trout is 15 years, they managed to recognize the agency’s 30th birthday without ever mentioning 30.
When SHS turned 33 1/3 in 2004, they sent each client an original L.P. album by musician T. Rex, which was released exactly 33 1/3 years of the date of the agency’s milestone. The agency also set up its own radio station, WSHS-FM at 103.3, which played the 1971 hit continuously and invited clients to tune in. Once they sampled the broadcast they could blog their own memories of the year 1971.
At the Festival of Big Hair, attendees were greeted with mustaches on a stick and were treated to a mustache and big hair contest. Guests enjoyed taking photos in the photo booth and lined up to draw on the posters of hairless SHS vice presidents. Even Aqua Net was on hand for those with a hair emergency.
A Little History
SHS was founded by Wendell Sullivan, an ad guy, and Al Higdon, a PR guy, in 1971 – a point in time when advertising and public relations people didn’t speak to each other, let alone open a business together. But Al and Wendell felt clients could benefit from an integrated approach. It’s an approach that has guided SHS business, and elevated their clients’ brands, ever since. Vaughn Sink joined Wendell and Al a couple of years later. In 1977, Joe Norris joined the team.
Today, with 40 years under their collective belt, SHS is a fiercely independent, full-service, integrated marketing agency. Four managing partners oversee the direction and development of the agency. Retired principals Al Higdon, Vaughn Sink and Joe Norris attended both events.