Mirum Minneapolis ECD and Others Leaving to Launch Their Own Firm

By Patrick Coffee 

Executive creative director Mike Matheny and three of his fellow team leaders have announced their plans to leave Mirum Minneapolis and launch their own venture.

It will be called Folklore. The project already has a website and some business lined up, but Matheny tells us it won’t be your typical digital-first agency.

“Nowadays with the word ‘agency’ having a stigma, we’re more about what’s called ‘creative tech,'” he says. “We’re doing what we believe to be the next step, and not having the agency title is important because digital moves so fast.”


Joining him at Folklore–which will also be based in Minneapolis–are Mirum director of front end development David Pett, senior UI/UX designer Shawn Bielefeldt and copywriter Jim Wakely. (VP of strategy Tom Flint will also be leaving the Minneapolis office to pursue other, unrelated opportunities.)

Matheny sees Folklore filling a void of sorts: “The West Coast has great tech, the East Coast has great advertising and the Midwest is still trying to figure it out. Minneapolis and Chicago are a little behind digitally.”

On that note, he tells us that Folklore wants to “not only find clients but talk to agencies and help them offer more to their current clients.”

The work in question will range from site builds to CMS and even product design. Matheny says, “We’re the opposite of consultants because we’re the doers. We will have content and content strategy,” if not traditional video campaigns. He also says that Folklore already has “a few” clients lined up, though he’s unable to name them at this time.

The nascent CEO calls his Mirum colleagues “some of the best people I know in Minnesota,” and the only comment he has regarding his time within the larger JWT organization is “Thank you for the opportunities…there’s no way to replace those.”

Matheny was a CD at JWT Minneapolis and an ECD at Digitaria before Mirum launched last February and he became ECD of its MN office. His fellow Folklore staffers have similar backgrounds as they’ve worked at digital rather than traditional creative shops in the past.

Here’s the statement from JWT on the departures:

“As part of our launch in 2015,  Mirum made sigificant upgrades in our talent and management. We have confidence in our leadership team in Minneapolis and their plans for the future.

Change is not for everyone. We wish Mike and the others all the best in their future endeavours.”

That next-to-last line, though.