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Clearly Creative
Candy Van Dam

Insights:Insight’s Founding Partner Retires

March 28, 2022
  • Jill Smith
    Jill Smith

Candy Van Dam, who co-founded Insight in 2003 with Doug Moss, will be stepping back from her career at the end of March, marking 19 years at the helm of the agency. We asked her what stood out during her years in advertising.

When I look back on my career, I’m a little surprised at how much the advertising industry has changed – and how much it has stayed constant.

The technology has certainly changed. As a Continuity Writer at KELO-TV, the commercials I wrote sometimes used actual Kodachrome slides on the air. I also helped out on shoots, directed talent and hauled electrical cords (and making sure that we left with the same number of cords that we brought). “Continuity” meant anything that wasn’t “programming,” from commercials to sponsored videos. My favorite project was KELO’s Centennial Minutes: One hundred 60-second historical video clips that KELO produced and sold during the state’s Centennial Celebration in 1989. I interviewed some amazing South Dakotans for that project.

Fast forward to 2022: Last year Insight produced an online virtual tour for Lake Area Tech College that let viewers “choose their own adventure.” Online, digital marketing allows us to slice demographics into tiny segments. We can measure responses to our messages – and then adjust the messages to improve that KPI.

What has stayed constant is the relationships we build with our clients and our teams. There’s nothing like presenting a new idea to a client – something really unexpected and having them say “I love it! I’d never thought of that.” My response is always, “that’s our job. If you had thought of it, you wouldn’t need us.”

I’ve been fortunate to work with some great people – both as clients and as co-workers. I’ve done my share of mentoring, but mostly I’ve learned from clients and colleagues – and that’s been the best part of my journey in advertising.

Early in my career I had a sign on my desk that read “Advertising: it IS brain surgery.” That really sums it up.

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