505 E Main Ave, Bismarck ND  |  1408 20th Ave SW, Minot ND

Twenty Years of Creative Clayton (A Nickname We Have Never Called Him in Twenty Years)


Twenty years ago during a blizzard, a six-foot tall, duster-clad gentleman with a long ponytail down his back and wide-brimmed leather hat atop his head, walked into Kranzler Kingsley Communications for an interview. It sounds like the start of a western, which isn’t too far off since it’s been a hold-on-tight sort of ride ever since.

“It immediately struck me that this was the most unique person I had encountered in a long time,” says KK BOLD President LaRoy Kingsley of that first meeting with Clayton Hove. At the end of the interview, along with his portfolio, Clay left a hot sauce sampler pack. He had written and designed the packaging himself. LaRoy says, “I didn’t dare try it for fear it would tear my face off.”

No spoiler alert here, Clay got the job. “His creative demeanor and outlook on life were exactly what we needed at the time,” added LaRoy.

Clay started as a copywriter, but in a few short months he proved his creative prowess and was promoted to creative director. That proved to be the right move and that’s where he’s been ever since.

Clay’s creative skills and influence can be seen all over our market and beyond. He has been a significant player in creating campaigns for many of the largest advertisers in our region including Medora, Høstfest, the North Dakota State Fair and dozens of others.

It’s not just the staff of KK BOLD that love Clay. Our clients do, too. Clay has the ability to lighten the mood of any client meeting with his imaginative delivery. He’s never condescending or rude, always kind and concerned, but also to the point. He’s disarming because he’s fun and instantly likable.

As head of the creative department, Clay brings all of these wonderful qualities to his daily leadership responsibilities as well. Not only is he the driving creative mind behind the concepts of the majority of our advertising campaigns, he also art directs and gives guidance to copywriting, public relations and even web design when needed. He is able to help the staff improve without squashing their ideas. It’s a collaborative process that takes the right person to navigate, and any firm would be lucky to have.

We don’t want to go as far as saying he lives advertising, but…no, that’s exactly what we want to say. The man lives for advertising. He also has a bit of a social media problem, ahem, presence, a social media presence. You can check out his musings at adtothebone.com, twitter.com/adtothebone, adland.tv, adtothebone.tumbler.com, facebook.com/claytonhove and linkedin.com/in/claytonhove. And you really should, because he’s a creative genius. Did we say that already? It was kind of implied, but creative genius sums it up nicely.

A few more things you should know about Clay. He has two cats, adopted from the Central Dakota Humane Society, whom he is quite taken with and you will see many, many photos of if you follow him on Facebook or Twitter. Clay is also a collector of all things geeky, odd or otherwise eccentric. If you ever visit the office, it would not take you long to guess which desk is his, if that’s a game you enjoy playing. And if you do visit (which you should, because he enjoys meeting people), do not somehow find yourself in a pop cultural reference battle to the death with him. He will out-reference the pants straight off of your pants region. There’s probably another pants reference that we could add in here. We’ll ask Clay if he can think of something else. Pants. That’s a funny word.

He no longer has the long hair or wears a duster, but Clay continues to surprise us every day. We’re lucky to have him as a colleague and friend and are hoping for many more years of that. Happy 20th anniversary, Clay, from every one of us at KK BOLD.

Check out what 20 years Clay consists of:

Clay's 20th Anniversary from KK BOLD on Vimeo.

Got a Clay story to share with us? Of course you do. Everybody does. Don’t hold out on us. We did just tell you ours. Leave yours for us in the comments.