This is what happens when you tell your boss he’s bananas
It’s 1972. John Risdall parts ways with his employer. And at the tender age of 27 (but already a veteran of the late Mad Men era of advertising), John decides to start up an ad agency in his New Brighton basement. Early clients include Smith System, Smith Foundry, Holes Webway and 3M.
Known as Dorsch Risdall, the agency moves to County Road B2 in Roseville. In hindsight, the location and the neighbors—TIES and MECC—presage exciting future developments in typography and technology.
Growing fast, the agency moves to its own building on North Lexington Avenue in Roseville. Clients in the 1970s include the Nelson Rockefeller Collection and Moto-Ski snowmobiles.
As John Risdall & Associates, the agency moves back to New Brighton, where it stays for the next 39 years, playing an active role in the business community.
The agency acquires a Macintosh computer.
(At first, nobody knows what to do with it.)
As it celebrates 15 years in business, the agency employs about 10 people, who work with clients like Johnson Screens and Roseville Bank.
Ted Risdall, John’s son, launches the “interactive” unit. Projects in 1993 and 1994 include CD-ROMs and touch-screen interactive kiosks. Risdall uses a beta copy of the Mosaic browser to put up a graphic on the World Wide Web that displays successfully on both Macs and PCs—the experiment is essentially one of the first cross-platform websites. The agency also experiments with the initially more widely used Gopher internet protocol.
Risdall’s own website is one of the first ad agency websites on the World Wide Web, which has come to dominate the internet. Because hosting platforms still lack sophistication, Risdall provides hosting for many clients, allowing their websites to be dynamic rather than just static HTML.
One of the agency’s legendary parties, the Tech Weenie Roast, celebrates interactive success with sausages and accordion music on the sidewalk. By this time, Risdall Linnihan occupies three separate buildings in New Brighton’s Stony Lake Office Park.
Ranked the 15th largest B2B agency in the U.S., the firm moves to a beautiful, brand-new building at 550 Main Street in New Brighton.
Ted becomes agency president. Still a family business, Risdall is one of the largest independent ad agencies in the Midwest.
Always an integrated advertising and marketing resource, Risdall invests in expanding digital marketing and public relations capabilities during the 2000s. Web solutions capabilities grow continually more sophisticated. This year, someone checks the list of Minnesota’s 100 largest public companies and finds that the agency has worked with 27 of them.
Not bad for a little suburban shop.
Risdall wins two CLIO Healthcare Awards. At the same time, the agency starts working with more consumer clients, like the Star Tribune and Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union.
A perennial leader in the Web Marketing Association’s WebAwards competition, Risdall racks up 20 of them, adding up to more than 100 WebAwards in five years.
For the second time, Risdall is named Top Agency in the WebAwards competition. We begin winning Mobile WebAwards, too.
Ted assumes full ownership of the agency. And the week before Thanksgiving, Risdall returns to Roseville. From I-35W, look for the purple Risdall logo atop 2685 Long Lake Road.
Settling into a beautiful new office with a hybrid work environment and top-notch meeting and presentation spaces, we look forward to another 45 years of innovation, brand stewardship and partnering with our clients to co-create the future.
So far, so good.