« Back to Risdall Public Relations

RMPR Faces: Tom Wilson

Meet Tom Wilson – the magnificent ball of energy who’s always wearing a smile, and has a magical way of putting everyone he passes in a good mood.

In addition to spreading the cheer, Tom oversees strategic direction at the agency while providing imagination in solving problems for clients and prospects. Tom helps ensure that companies get paired with the right strategies, from advertising and interactive, to social media and public relations.

What’s your favorite thing about working in the field of advertising?

Working with smart, energetic, people who relish the opportunity to help clients improve their business.  It is a fun business – you want to surround yourself with super people who share your passion.

You’ve worked at several agencies during your career. What’s the most memorable campaign you’ve worked on?

My most memorable campaign? That’s a tough question – I have certainly had my share in the past 30 years! The one campaign that stands out was when I was at Fallon. The account was Penn Tennis Balls. At the time, Wilson (great name) was the dominant brand and Penn needed to raise awareness and steal market share. We produced a TV spot that demonstrated how Penn is a bouncier ball. Typical two guys in white lab coats. First guy drops a Penn tennis ball from the top of the Chrysler building. Then we did the same test with the “competitor” and actually dropped the Wilson tester over the side of the building. It was funny as heck and grabbed a lot of press. The spot only aired on ESPN – it never cleared network Standards and Practices – for obvious reasons.

We all know you’re a morning person. What’s your morning routine?

Coffee – lots of it. Seriously, I get up at 5:15 every day and work out – starting with either a swim or hitting free weights. Then I get caught up on email before people start rolling into the office. I can get an incredible amount of work done before 9:00 AM.

You have a tremendous amount of energy and enthusiasm for everything you do. What’s the secret?

Coffee.  I appreciate everything I have in life. I am married to a wonderful woman (blind date at age 19) have two fantastic sons and I have an incredibly positive outlook. It’ so important to take stock of all the good things I have now – and all the great experiences that await me.

Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. -Ferris Bueller

You’re an Iowa State alum. What’s the best thing about being a Hawkeye?

Oh that is good! The BEST THING is when people, not from the Corn State, confuse the two universities! As an Iowa State alum, I am a CYCLONE. We Cyclones love to beat up on our Hawkeye friends down in Iowa City.

You joke about the “Edina Cake Eaters.” For those who don’t get the Mighty Ducks connection, what the heck does it mean?

A little history lesson – cake eater is a reference to the “Let them eat cake” quote misattributed to Marie Antoinette. The term has always been attached to people from Edina.  However, up until the 1960s, the name “cake eater” had been attributed to the Washburn Millers, a high school located in a prosperous neighborhood of nearby Minneapolis.

We know you love to golf. What’s your best golf story?

It’s when we were vacationing in North Carolina. My younger son was six or seven at the time and decided to drive the golf cart. He lost control and drove over my foot. Thankfully, I finished the round!