Mark Putnam, Democratic consultant and political media guru, has founded Putnam Partners, a new strategic media firm.
Putnam leaves the team at Murphy Putnam Media, where he and his partner, Steve Murphy, were responsible for a number of award-wining political advertisements since its founding in 1997. Putnam’s recent work includes Colorado Governor-elect John Hickenlooper’s “Shower” ad and Alaska Senate candidate Scott McAdam’s “Norwegian” ad. Among their notable successes is President Obama’s thirty-minute special, which aired in primetime during the 2008 campaign.
In his book The Audacity to Win, Obama campaign manager David Plouffe called Putnam “one of the best producers in our party.” Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post named eight of Putnam’s ads among the best of the 2008 and 2010 cycles. CBS News called the creative, humanizing and entertaining “Shower” ad the best ad of the 2010 election cycle.
Putnam has won thirty-nine Pollie Awards for excellence in advertising.
Putnam reflects fondly on his partnership with Murphy, but believes it was time to move on. “Steve Murphy and I had a great firm for many years,” says Putnam, “but it was time for me to act on the challenge of building a new firm that will offer a broader array of services in traditional and new media.”
Also joining Putnam Partners is Philip de Vellis, former senior associate and vice resident for new media at Murphy Putnam Media and the creative mastermind behind the acclaimed “Vote Different” ad opposing Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. The ad is often credited with being the first political hit to go viral in YouTube history. Jim Duffy, a former partner at Murphy Putnam Media, is also joining the new firm. Duffy has been a lead strategist and media consultant for over twenty years. In the new venture, Putnam Partners intends to expand into areas such as issues advocacy, business consulting and non-profit work. “With the Supreme Court decision [Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission], there will be a lot of independent expenditure work,” says Putnam. “That is a huge area of potential, but it was never a focus for Murphy Putnam.”
Previously, Putnam served as chief speechwriter for Rep. Dick Gephart’s 2004 presidential campaign and produced television advertising for three other presidential campaigns. He has led consulting strategies in forty-seven states. “My love has been—and will always be—working with candidates,” he says. “That will be the major focus of our firm.”
Putnam sees a bright future ahead for Putnam Partners and the Democratic candidates and officeholders that they will represent. “It was a tough decision to make to leave a successful firm, but there are a lot of exciting possibilities up ahead,” he says. “2010 was a tough year for Democrats, but there will be a lot of rebuilding in 2011 and 2012, and I am excited to be part of that process for our party.”