On the Stump

You wouldn’t necessarily peg Jim “Stump” Haakinson as a client with the potential to be difficult. Haakinson markets his own line of pepper-laced olives out of his hometown, Afton, a small town in southern Wisconsin not far from the Illinois state line.

Haakinson was selling his product, Stump’s Hot Olives, outside a Univer sity of Wisconsin football game a few years back when his modest venture caught the eye of Joe Ban, a writer at Advertising, Boelter & Lincoln in Milwaukee.

A deal was struck. “It’s such a weird little product, we thought, ‘This was something we could have some fun with,’ ” Ban said.

ABL’s initial work was a conceptual piece of art that showed a man surrounded by flames.

Haakinson sent Ban back to the drawing board. “He said it wasn’t him,” Ban explained. “He’s more homespun.”

A second effort proved more to Haakinson’s liking. ABL produced a series of posters for farmers markets and bars and liquor stores that carry olives. The work offers a “folk art” look, with rough, colorful paintings reminiscent of old carnival posters. “For those who prefer their martinis boiled, not stirred,” one headline reads.

Ban said he didn’t take Haakinson’s original rejection personally. “He was right,” he said.