“A Big Hand for the Little Agency”: ADWEEK Article on Walt Jaschek and Puckett Group Winning at St. Louis Addys

Awards, Flashbacks, Press Coverage

This story by Maureen O’Donnell appeared in the March 6, 1989, edition of Adweek magazine.

Walt Jaschek, big winner in St. Louis Addy Awards

A Big Hand for the Little Agency: Two Fledgling Shops Take St. Louis Addys by Storm

By Maureen O’Donnell

ST. LOUIS – The staffers at two small, young agencies had trouble applauding at the St. Louis Addys. It wasn’t for lack of enthusiasm. Their hands were so full of awards, they couldn’t clap.

“We kept passing them down the row and juggling them,” recalls Pamela Barnes, office manager at the Puckett Group. “It was hard to applaud after a while.”

The Puckett Group and another little known St. Louis agency, Jaschek Ink, stole the show here last month. Jaschek won three gold and two Best of Show Awards after submitting only three entries. The Puckett Group nabbed nine gold awards, more than St. Louis’ two oldest, largest agencies combined: D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles and Gardner. Puckett Group also won a Best of Show.

Walt Jaschek’s head is still spinning from the recognition. His freelance copywriting agency, with a staff of one – the boss – won’t even celebrate its first birthday until next month.

“I wish I could be hip and blase about it,” said Jaschek, 33, “but I must admit I called my Mom at the crack of dawn and said, “Mom! Guess what!”

Jaschek won Best of Show in radio for a 60-second spot boosting the TV show George Schlatter’s Comedy Club, featuring the sounds of different types of laughs, from the “East Coast Schmooze” to the “Glasnost Giggle.”

Jaschek’s Best of Show print collateral ad, announcing his agency’s opening, was a spoof of a warm, personal note. It was a form letter.

Before opening his company last April, Jaschek was a creative director at the Flynn Group in Colorado Springs, Colorado. “It was a small, hot shop, and that was fun,” Jaschek says. He went on to work in advertising management at Southwestern Bell in St. Louis, handling copywriting and collateral materials such as brochures.

Southwestern Bell is among his freelance clients todays, as are Eveready Battery Co., Anheuser Busch, Monsanto, CBS and NBC.

“Radio is my obession, and radio is what I do best,” Jaschek said. “It engages your intelligence.” His influences include the Monty Python comedy troupe, Bob and Ray, and Stan Freberg.

Opening his own show was an easy decision, Jaschek said. “I woke up one morning, said, ‘I’m 33 years old.’ I believe people should do not what they’re good at, but what they’re great at,” it he said.

“So, [he begins singing in a Sinatra-esque purr] it’s the free-lance life for me.”