Foley Group Hires Johnson to Oversee Creative

Jennifer Johnson will draw on 19 years of agency experience as she takes as executive creative director at The Foley Group.

“I feel like I’m a very lucky person. I’ve always wanted this opportunity,” said Johnson, whose appointment concludes a year-long search by the $45 million Minneapolis shop.

Johnson, 41, said one of her main objectives is to forge an identity for the somewhat anonymous 32-person agency.

“It’s a great opportunity because we can invent ourselves,” she said. “We have a chance to become a strategic and savvy place.”

The Foley Group’s size and independence are assets in accomplishing that, said Johnson, most recently a creative director at Campbell Mithun, also in Minneapolis. “We’re in a position where we can take certain risks,” she said. “When we decide to pitch a piece of business, we can do it because we feel it’s a great fit.”

The Foley Group (formerly Foley Sackett) has been without a top creative since Ron Sackett left last year. The agency’s clients include the Minnesota State Lottery, Mystic Lake Casino and the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Johnson, who is also a teacher at the Miami Ad School in Minneapolis, said she won’t try to impose a particular style of advertising.

“It’s not about making people do things the way I do them,” she said. “It’s about finding the strengths of the individuals.”

Johnson began her career in 1984 at Ogilvy & Mather, Chicago. She moved cross town to Leo Burnett in the late ’80s, and then to Car michael Lynch as a group creative director in 1998 before landing at Campbell Mithun.

Johnson said she hopes to draw on experiences at each agency as she takes over creative leadership at The Foley Group. Ogilvy, Burnett and CM helped her learn about client and staff management, while CL was a creative “shot in the arm,” she said.