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A Tribute Edition of “Wisdom on Wednesday” – The Ad World Lost One of its Best

Monday, August 27, 2018 - Joe Kiedinger

When I heard the news that the greatest ad man in Green Bay was no longer with us, my heart stood still. Jim Rivett = creative. I hope I speak on behalf of every marketing and advertising executive who ever knew him when I say: he was one of the best—if not THE best.

To be clear, I have only spent a handful of times with the man. His humble spirit and quick-wittedness made others feel safe and welcomed. He never displayed a self-evident ego, as so many higher-up creatives tend to do. In our industry, for some reason, ad owners are not very accepting of their competition. Jim didn’t have competition. He just accepted people and did his own thing. I became a fan in my first encounter with this amazing man. 

I remember a time when I was pitching Goodwill and hoping to become their marketing partner. They told me at the end of Jim’s pitch that he stripped down to his boxers and literally gave the clothes off his back as a donation and walked out of the room. When they told me this story, I simply stood up, shook their hand, thanked them for their time and said, “Enjoy working with Mr. Rivett; he’s one of the best!”

Yes, indeed, the ad community lost one of its best. Which brings us to a sad reality. Jim removed himself from the game of life. He was winning and didn’t know it. He had setbacks in recent years and couldn’t see that those setbacks made him, and those around him, stronger.

I compare it to the Indy 500. Life presents many laps around the track. Sometimes we are in the lead and sometimes we fall behind. In recent years, Jim was blind-sided with misfortune. He took that misfortune and built a new and better business, Khrome. He was gaining momentum and beginning to take the lead. He decided to pull off into the pit stop and never return.

To those of you who listen to the voices in your head, the ones that say you’re not good enough, that things won’t get better—it’s all a lie. I know this is a simple idea, but it doesn’t dismiss the fact that these voices lie. Something I’ve learned in this tumultuous industry, and in life, is to surrender. When you surround yourself with talented people and a loving family, things will always take care of themselves.

Years back, when watching an episode of “Extreme Home Makeover,” the crew was renovating the home of a family whose patriarch passed away due to cancer. The family members shared a quote of his, “There’s nothing to worry about—only things to think about.” Throughout his final months, as the family was stressed and mourning their future loss, he kept reminding them of this simple but profound thought.

To the creative team at Khrome, Jim’s first family, Peter, and to all of the clients who knew, loved and witnessed the creative genius of Jim Rivett: our hearts, prayers and thoughts go out to you. People want to help and support you. You are not alone.

To those suffering with the voices in your head: they are not for you, so stop listening. Would you worry if you knew things were going to be better? Would you worry if you knew that abundance was working its way to you? Indeed, you would not. You would sit back and look forward to the good fortune. For those who wait in faith, this is always the case. You can depend on it. There really is nothing to worry about, only things to think about.

Yes, today is a sad day. The coming months will be heavy and regretful for some. Know you are loved, know you are necessary, and know you have a purpose.

Joe Kiedinger

Sometimes, all it takes is a little inspiration.

Understanding where others are coming from is critical in communicating and working toward a common cause.