What do you get when you mix the creative energy, expertise, experience, personalities and advertising savvy of thirteen unique individuals, a rotation of select, talented interns, a cranky copier, an endless supply of gold tinsel, and one life-sized paper-mâché dog? While every day is certainly different, one factor remains the same—they could never be described as boring.
This month we’re interviewing Mike Meister—winner of the coveted AAF Lubbock 2016 Best of Show award in direct marketing. Mike is the president and CEO of the Price Group—an agency active in the Lubbock advertising community since 1972. He first started working for the Price Group in 1988 as a designer—his first job. He has now been working for the Price Group for 28 years.
Rumor has it that you’re a man of many trades/talents—wildlife paintings, super-sized sculptures, home renovation projects and music, to name a few. Do you have a favorite?
That’s like asking if a parent has a favorite child. I’ve always loved making things with my hands, so art, building furniture and renovating are high on the list. But I also very much enjoy singing and since I got back on stage with Lubbock Moonlight Musicals last summer, I’ve found another very rewarding outlet (it lets me be a ham AND sing).
Nice! It sounds like you enjoy being involved in many facets of the creative field. Did you always know you wanted to be in advertising and design?
I always knew I wanted to be an artist. I even started out with a studio art major in college (with a minor in vocal performance) but switched to commercial art when I realized I would probably need to support a family and have a ‘real’ job. I still get to paint & draw some, but I don’t have to rely on it for my source of income so there’s a lot less pressure on productivity. Same with music.
If you were to create a slogan for your life, what would it be?
If you’re going to do something, do it right.
What was the last new thing or activity you tried?
My wife, Crystal and I went zip-lining in Ruidoso last year and that was AWESOME! Beautiful scenery, speed and the feeling of flying. Can’t beat that.
Is there any one thing that you’ve always wanted to do that you haven’t? What is one thing you would do if the element of failure wasn’t a possibility?
OH, that’s a tough one. I’ve been lucky enough to try most everything I wanted to and been successful enough at it that I was reasonably satisfied with the results. That sounded kind of boastful, but I wasn’t trying to be. It’s in large part thanks to my parents who gave me the confidence to try things and the tools to figure them out. I don’t have any huge ambitions to climb Mount Everest, run with the bulls or be famous. I might need to just think on this one, so maybe get back to me.
So what would your perfect day look like?
I have a lot of those being happily married to my best friend. Sleep in a little (snuggling is a must), get up and work out for a while then spend a few hours working on a project and a few hours just doing whatever with Crystal. It doesn’t really matter what we’re doing, it’s just better together.
You’ve been in the creative business longer than many can claim. What do you do when you get creative block?
I generally try to walk away from the project for a while and just let my subconscious work on it—if I have the luxury of time. If not, sometimes I’ll look through design magazines or do random Google searches for something sort of related. I try really hard to make sure my work is original, so I don’t want to let others’ work influence me too much. Most of the time I can go back to the client’s brand foundation and get something that will spark me forward.
Is there any project that, in your 28 years at Price Group, you look back on as a favorite?
Our ADVengers open house invitation last year was a lot of fun; I got to do some illustration work and we carried the concept out really nicely—and everyone was involved. We have great clients and I’ve been fortunate to work on many projects that could fall under favorite.
What are your top pet peeves?
1. Laziness in grammar and spelling
2. People who say one thing but really mean another
3. The apparent ignorance by designers of the difference between an apostrophe and a single open quote
4. Lubbock drivers
Which person in your life do you most admire and why?
Might sound a little trite, but my wife. She’s had a pretty rocky road and still has a great attitude. She’s a hard worker but still likes to play; she’s smart without being bookish; she’s beautiful without being vain. Anyone who knows me knows that she’s made a huge impact on my life. She’s a keeper.
If you were to be in the movie, TV show, play, etc., of your choice, which one would you choose and what character would you play?
Well, I’m going to be a pirate this summer in Pirates of Penzance, so that sounds like a fun place to start. I already have the earring.
Mountains or beach? The perfect spot would be a mountain hideaway near the beach—but if I had to choose: mountains.
Morning or night person? Definitely a night owl.
Batman or Superman? Catwoman.
Kanye West fund-raiser or Donald Trump campaign manager/PR? This is a trick question as I wouldn’t be caught dead anywhere near either one of those egomaniacs.
Ha ha! You caught us. So what is one thing that most might not know about you?
I’m actually pretty shy. I’m much more comfortable talking to one person than being in a crowd. And if you ask, “why do you get on stage?” I’ll say that it’s because I’m playing a part—it’s not me, just a character so I get to use my imagination. Unless I’m presenting something in which case it’s just a part of the job.
Any last words or advice for advertising hopefuls or others in the industry?
Lots. But I think the basics would be: try to live and work with integrity; listen; work hard (but not too hard); strive for excellence rather than perfection; remember that everyone makes mistakes and most people really do have good intentions, so give people the benefit of the doubt.
OK, that was pretty much non-specific to the industry. So, if you’re going to get into design or advertising, learn to multitask (even if it goes against your personality … trust me, you’ll need it); know your audience; listen (OK, that one works anywhere); stand out in the crowd, but don’t do it by being a jerk; feed your imagination in whatever way works best for you; be prepared to defend your work without being defensive; learn from others because there’s always someone who is better at something than you.
Thank you to Mike Meister for giving us the opportunity to feature him this month!
Do you know a member who would be interesting to showcase next? Contact us. We’d love to hear from you!
*Photos courtesy of the Price Group.