Friends, please indulge us. We have a lot to celebrate as we mark our 50th year. So many clients, so much work, so many JayRay leaders.
We invite you to take a romp through the years with us. Just scroll on down. Or jump to your favorite decade. And forgive us if we’ve missed a client or project that’s a favorite of yours. Some of ours didn’t make the cut either.
There are many people and sources to credit, yet memories fade, records are lost. We’ve captured what we could.
Please let us know if you have corrections or additions.
1970: Former Puget Sound Bank advertising and public relations director Glen Graves opened Glen Graves Advertising in Tacoma’s Stadium District. “We worked hard, but we had a lot of good times. Fridays after work we’d get a couple of six packs, play darts and BS. It was good to let down.” –Glen Graves
1975: Judy Fillips joined the agency. A savvy media strategist, she earned a reputation among ad sales reps for being a staunch client advocate. She supervised agency interns for a decade.
1978: JayRay partnered with the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce to express community pride through the “Tacoma, You’re Beautiful” campaign across outdoor boards, bumper stickers, lapel buttons and print ads.
1972: Kurt Jacobson joined the agency. A Tacoma native and son of an artist, Kurt brought connections and creativity to each conversation. During his 23 years as president, Kurt established the agency’s branding process and influenced nearly every ad campaign.1970: Raymond Ray joined the team and was the agency’s creative driver. He and Glen Graves created a winning campaign for Tacoma’s first Black city councilmember, Harold Moss. Ray served on the committee that created the “Tacoma, You’re Beautiful” campaign. All that, and a jazz musician too.
Throughout the ‘70s the agency partnered with many local and regional companies. Recognize any of these?
Hammar's Uniform stores
McGranahan Messenger and Associates
Pizza & Pipes restaurants
South Tacoma Motor Company (Chevrolet)
Photo credit: Wikipedia Commons, U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
1974: Jerry McLaughlin joined the agency. He started as an intern, modeled for a clothing store client, pioneered the agency’s move to technology and supported youth programs.
1975: JayRay introduced Wilcox Family Farms’ egg and dairy products with a sophisticated, award-winning branding approach.The dairy also had an international bull breeding operation. Yes, we advertised bull semen with the headline, "The herd shot 'round the world."
1989: Bold ads prepared Pierce County residents for curbside recycling the following year. 70% of the urban market signed up in the first week.
1987: Cleaner air, a new wooden dome and a renewed restaurant scene helped the Tacoma Visitor & Convention Bureau entice meeting planners to book in Tacoma. Three decades later, JayRay continues to draw travelers to Northwest destinations.
1987: Tacoma daily The News Tribune switched to morning delivery, making it a competitor to the Seattle P-I. JayRay’s launch campaign included radio spots recorded overnight based on the next morning’s headlines.
On Black Monday Oct. 19, 1987, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) lost almost 22% in a single day. The event marked the beginning of a global stock market decline, and Black Monday became one of the most notorious days in financial history.
Photo credit: Roger Hsu, www.flickr.com, investopedia
1987: JayRay recruited former intern Kathleen Deakins to rejoin the firm to bolster its PR capabilities. An early project with Jerry McLaughlin had her escorting the Electric League’s Louie the Lightning Bug on a visit to Gov. Booth Gardner. Kathleen became agency president in 2011.
1988: JayRay made coupon clippers blush. Other attention-getting Pierce County Medical Bureau campaigns featured a working nightlight billboard and a TV spot shot in a simulated rain shower in downtown Tacoma.The agency began work with PCMB in 1976 and later worked with nine separate Blue Shield plans in Washington.
1989: The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department chose a bold JayRay ad campaign to help stop the spread of AIDS.
1985: JayRay headed up community relations for Simpson Tacoma Kraft from the time Simpson bought the Tacoma mill in 1985 through its sale in 2014.
1987: Agency was renamed to Jacobson Ray McLaughlin Fillips. “Hire a big name in advertising” was the campaign introducing the agency’s new name.
1987: Agencies often posed for campaign photos to use in new business pitches. The team working on the Platinum Cat portable heater account included Paul Cournoyer, Mike Mayes, Judy Fillips, Jerry McLaughlin and Raymond Ray.
1989: JayRay worked with Mt. Rainier Guest Services to bring thousands of people to the mountain. And in 2016, we helped Travel Tacoma promote Mount Rainier during the National Park Service centennial.
1988: Dumpsters delivered United Way’s serious new campaign strategy. The campaign included a TV spot with actor Dennis Hopper narrating.
1991: Agency staff posed for a marine-themed change of address card when they moved to a historic waterfront warehouse at 535 Dock Street.
Back row: Judy Fillips, Mike Wasem, Gerald Ostlund, John Schofield, Kong Lu. Front row: Kurt Jacobson, Kathleen Deakins, Jerry McLaughlin, Bev Holland, Ruth Tafoya, Kim Porter, Pat LeBaron (illustration). Kneeling: Kathryn. Sitting: Sandy Thomas.
1994: Pierce County Medical’s print ads helped people understand drastic changes in the state’s medical insurance market expected with the adoption of health care reform.
1996: “Start Your Head. Eat Breakfast.” promoted nutrition among low-income families. About 12 states and a national company picked up the campaign.
1996: An accordion-fold mailer announced the agency’s name change to JayRay Ads & PR. The guy started with a full-length shirt and the long agency name.
1998: In over 20 years for Catholic Health Initiatives, JayRay helped bring in patients, open new hospitals, launch new employee benefits, and ease the transition to electronic health records across 18 states. Among the many mergers JayRay assisted with was CHI’s merger with Dignity Health in 2019 to form CommonSpirit Health.
1999: Kids were setting fires in record numbers. The FireStoppers campaign reminded parents to keep matches out of reach.
1990: University of Washington Tacoma held its first class in the Perkins Building, before the downtown campus opened.
Photo credit: Jay Hember
1993: Asarco chose JayRay as its community relations partner. Residents were invited to dream about a future where the former smelter site was cleaned up and an inviting part of the landscape. Ten years later, JayRay planned a celebration featuring government officials signing the agreement that made redevelopment possible.
1995: Try the train to work for free. That message kicked off commuter rail in the Puget Sound area. JayRay’s campaign for the Regional Transit Authority (RTA) promoted demo routes to Seattle from Tacoma and Everett. The campaign also reached out to basketball fans, offering a $10 roundtrip train ride to select Seattle SuperSonics games.
Back row: Judy Fillips, Sandy Thomas. Middle row: Jerry McLaughlin, Kathy Kendall, Whitney DalBalcon, Kong Lu, Carol Kelly, Ruth Tafoya, Alison Forsythe, Marilyn Strickland, Cynthia Seward, Alex Lawson. Front row: Kevin Glasse, Barbie Pratt, Kurt Jacobson, Rosalind Sciammas.
1996: The agency name changed to JayRay Ads & PR, a nickname coined by a client.
1997: The State Route 509 cable-stayed bridge opened.
Photo credit: Getty Images
2001: JayRay’s iconic Red Chair debuted.“It was never intended to be so literal. It was designed to stimulate conversation. I would always ask the inquirers what it meant to them.”— Kurt Jacobson
2000: A bruising marketplace had Swedish Medical Center and Providence Health System eyeing one another from just blocks apart in Seattle. As they discussed a possible alliance, they brought in JayRay to coordinate the communication strategy. On announcement day, the carefully orchestrated plan unfolded. News of the alliance was shared in person or by phone with more than 5,000 people and dozens of local and national reporters.
2002: A gold-shovel groundbreaking wouldn’t do. A parade of 140 classic cars? That’s more like it. JayRay organized the “Rally for LeMay” event to celebrate the Tacoma City Council’s commitment of 8 acres of prime property for the museum, intended to house Harold E. LeMay’s private collection of cars and memorabilia—the largest in the world.Rally highlights included rolling out the collection’s newest acquisition, a 1948 Tucker, and unveiling a parking space painted on the site as reserved for the museum.
2003: Working with two generations of Burkharts, JayRay guided Washington state’s oldest business through a process to develop a new brand that captured the firm’s personality, position and promise. JayRay designed the new logo as well as sales materials.
2005: Shari Campbell joined the firm. She added depth to JayRay’s health care experience and provided marketing, research and business savvy. Shari championed JayRay’s social media efforts and was an agency owner from 2008-2015.
2009: Steph Farber, LeRoy Jewelers president and chief jewelry stylist, trusted JayRay’s wit to bring in customers.Just one example: Russell Investments was deciding whether to move its employees from Tacoma to Seattle. So within sight of the Russell building, LeRoy posted a billboard showing a piece of jewelry and the message “Russell—Don’t love me and leave me!” The campaign went viral and garnered news coverage. And Russell ultimately moved to Seattle.
2000: The world sighed in relief at the stroke of midnight when computers didn’t crash, the lights didn’t go out, and all we had to recover from was a New Year’s Eve hangover.
Photo credit: John Swindells, Wikipedia Commons
2000: In a sarcastic twist, smokers from 1970s cigarette ads were paired with messages to get people to quit.JayRay created this campaign for the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department.
2001: The public revelation during a Pacific Northwest regional meeting that three United Methodist ministers were gay caused a national sensation.JayRay, as counsel to the local bishop, developed the PR strategy and messages, and managed media relations, including a news conference with one of the ministers inside his Seattle church.
2005: The Tall Ships Festival attracted more than 800,000 visitors to Foss Waterway and added to Tacoma’s growing profile as a tourism destination.As a community service, JayRay organized and hosted the Tall Ships media center, open for 55 hours over six days. About 75 reporters and photographers from around the world covered the event.
2006: JayRay’s campaign for the Humane Society for Tacoma & Pierce County relied on the startling facts to launch the effort to end unnecessary euthanasia. The campaign also introduced the Humane Society’s goal to become a no-kill shelter by the end of 2008.Within four months, donations increased more than 50%. In the first nine months, the number of adoptable dogs euthanized was reduced by half.
2009: Catholic Health Initiatives turned its attention to employees’ basic needs. JayRay helped develop the multi-faceted CHI Healthy Spirit initiative, providing research, strategies, messages, the logo and design templates. Videos, collateral and employee events promoted wellness incentives.
2008: Kacie Leacy joined the agency. She started as a college intern and became an owner in 2016. She has been a versatile employee bringing creative thinking and strategic insights.
2005: The “Dogs Can’t Flush” campaign for Pierce County reminded dog owners to pick up pet waste. Signs still appear in county parks, 15 years after the campaign began.
2010: Catholic Health Initiatives’ $2+ billion investment in electronic medical records would only pay off if medical staff and patients used the new system. That was JayRay’s focus for eight years of creating persuasive and informational messages, videos and promotions used from coast to coast.
2013: Tacoma Public Schools was on a positive trajectory with improved test scores, new innovative programs and dedicated teachers. JayRay led the rebranding effort that helped TPS prove its forward thinking and commitment to "Every student. Every day."
2015: A proposed minimum wage increase in Tacoma was drastic—a 58% hike overnight—more extreme than anywhere in the country. The Tacoma Chamber asked JayRay to rally members who were unaware of the proposed increase. The campaign saturated digital channels with potent messages and compelling graphics. Thirty percent of website visitors sent letters to the city council saying “direct to $15 is too extreme.”
The council sent a moderate alternative to voters.
2012: Bethany Doane joined the agency. Recruited for accounting duties, she is now operations manager. Bethany wields a mean paint roller (as part of United Way’s Day of Caring) and has a secret creative streak. She became an agency owner in 2017.
2016: Previous community branding attempts had failed. This time, JayRay took a fresh, collaborative approach, facilitating the big conversations: How do we define the “South Sound”? What is it that inspires us? How can the brand be meaningful and relevant to South Sound fans of all ages?The South Sound Proud badge came first. Then the Live Like the Mountain is Out campaign to launch it with clandestine sidewalk chalk art and a 28-foot crane banner no one saw coming. Soon it was on a Snapchat filter, Instagram channel, beverage coasters, window decals, T-shirts, painted rocks, murals, newspaper ads, website and countless variations as the community made it its own.
2018: History displays, employee photo mosaics and a teddy bear clinic were all part of the celebrations JayRay produced for the anniversaries of three CHI Franciscan hospitals. Staff, physicians and the community were honored with separate custom events.
2015: Mountain, city, sea is a distinct advantage for visitor and sports promoters. As Travel Tacoma’s PR partner, JayRay pitched stories that brought writers and influencers to town.The agency’s work with the Tacoma South Sound Sports Commission included social media and a new website.In 2019 the two organizations merged to form Travel Tacoma-Mt. Rainier Tourism & Sports, and it continues as a JayRay client.
2016: The University of Washington Tacoma chancellor appointed a 30-person committee to develop a new strategic plan for the 25-year-old branch campus. JayRay was part of the team who led the nine-month strategic planning process, facilitated 10 day-long committee meetings and analyzed input from 1,000 people from across the community who cared about UWT’s future.
2019: Astoria, Oregon is big on parks and recreation despite its small size. Yet resident participation was low for the home of the “Truffle Shuffle.” JayRay’s marketing communication plan included updated visuals and templates, social media content and management, website improvements and a redesigned program guide.
2010: The Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) was the outcome of decades of debate over health care reform. The law aimed to improve health care delivery nationwide, make affordable health insurance available to more people, expand Medicaid and change how insurers and providers offered services.
Photo credit: Pete Souza, Creative Commons
May 13, 2011: Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa kicked off the “Be the Spark” campaign for the Greater Tacoma Community Foundation. “Be the Spark” urged young people to get involved in a cause that improved their community.JayRay helped secure $75,000 in media sponsorships, coordinated a promotional music video and drove the social media strategy. More than 14,000 attendees were inspired to make a difference that day.
2013: Bridget Baeth joined the agency. Her destination marketing experience has grown JayRay’s portfolio. Bridget is equally tuned in to statistics and style. (Her outfit matched the goat at a special event!) She became an agency owner in 2016.
2015: The number of Pierce County families living in poverty was intolerable. United Way of Pierce County needed the community to lock arms in support to make headway. JayRay developed a compelling fundraising appeal that moved supporters from “I will donate” to “I will break the cycle of poverty.” Print, digital and social channels drove people to the campaign landing page. Donations increased 23% over the year before.
2016: The cumbersome Olympia-Lacey-Tumwater Visitor & Convention Bureau name didn’t match the free-spirited vibe and attractions of the county. JayRay led the branding team in choosing a new consumer name, Experience Olympia & Beyond, and the tagline “Decidedly Different.” JayRay put it all together with a new logo, messaging, photo library and brand guide. A lively destination video brought it to life.JayRay continues as an Experience Olympia partner, promoting the destination to writers throughout the West.
2018: Four nights in a decked-out camper van was the sweepstakes prize in “The Road Trip is Back” campaign in 2018. The program JayRay created with the Olympic Peninsula Visitor Bureau was so popular, they repeated it the following year. A social influencer campaign drove visitor traffic to a new website designed by JayRay. The user-friendly, inspirational site was photo-centric and easy to update.
2018: The Port of Tacoma shared a giant 100th birthday gift with the community—a shipping container converted to a traveling educational exhibit. In addition to the container’s interior and exterior graphics, JayRay created the Port’s centennial logo, bus signs, a bus wrap and a keepsake magazine of the Port’s history. Logo merchandise such as cookies and coasters kept the centennial party going throughout the year.
2019: Competitors expanded while TAPCO Credit Union’s heart stayed committed to Pierce County. That message was clear in the brand positioning and ad campaign JayRay created. Members and employees were featured against a custom illustrated backdrop. Marketing activities put TAPCO at local stadium events, farmers markets, hyperlocal sponsorships and more.