Former MZD Executives Strike Out on Their Own

Two Indianapolis admen are betting the market is primed for growth.
Mike Beltrame, 50, and K.C. Leffler, 30, left Montgomery Zukerman Davis to open their own shop, suggesting the city needs more alternatives for clients shopping for an agency.
“We feel there aren’t a whole lot of options out there right now,” Leffler said.
The agency, dubbed Beltrame Leffler Advertising, opened its doors with a roster of clients that include ProLiance Energy and Office Furniture Outlet, both in Indianapolis; White Rock Products Corp., New York; and the International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association, Madison, Wis. All four clients were businesses Beltrame had worked on while at MZD.
A 30-year veteran of the business, Beltrame left his position as senior vice president at MZD, where he was also a shareholder, to hang out his own shingle.
“It’s the attraction of starting a firm where you can really be more responsible for the direction of the creative output,” he said. “You come to a point where you just feel a little more comfortable doing it yourself.”
Leffler, 30, was most recently a senior art director at MZD. His work on the “Sex Can Wait, I’m Worth It” campaign for Indiana Respect won Addy awards in the broadcast, print and campaign categories.
“I feel like I represent a fresh point for the creative,” he said.
The shop, which opened this spring, is just starting to aggressively pursue new clients, Leffler said.
“We try to bring the element of design into great concept advertising,” he said. “We just feel like we can really turn some heads in this market.”
Beltrame and Leffler met while working together on a project at MZD. The pair quickly discovered they shared more than just a philosophy on advertising. They went to the same high school and celebrate their birthdays on the same day.
Given that, the agency may have to officially close for a Beltrame Leffler day every Nov. 30.