David Grantz – Buzz Advertising

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WHAT’S ALL THE BUZZ ABOUT?

Welcome David Grantz, President and Founder of BUZZ Advertising.

LD
David, what is the “BUZZ” all about with your growing advertising agency? You’ve created quite a name for yourself.

DG
Thank you Lori! We’ve worked very hard to get to where we are. BUZZ Advertising is now ten years old. The team that we have in place is the best of the best. I’m very proud of the work that we do for all of our clients.

dg-picLD
You began your early years working for Churchill Downs, and in Broadcast television (Lexington, Louisville, Chicago and Birmingham markets) how did you decide to take a leap of faith and start your own advertising agency?

DG
Early in my career, I saw the writing on the wall. I saw that companies weren’t being very loyal to their employees. People were getting their heads cut off on a regular basis. It seems like a hundred years ago now, but at one time I thought I wanted to become a General Manager of a TV station and run the whole thing, from Sales to the News Department. That all changed after I stepped into my first real management roll. I hated it! I took a beating for other people’s mistakes and failures. That got old real fast. I liked my odds of going out on my own and creating my own path. You could say that BUZZ was actually born out of the frustration of working for “the man.” Now, “the man” has to play ball with me.

 

LD
It appears you took a real hard look at the risk vs. the rewards see saw.

DG
That’s true. Back in my Broadcast TV days, I said to myself what do you want to be? Should I set my sights on becoming a General Manager of a TV station, or should I make the leap and eventually start my own advertising agency? Neither one of these would be easy. So, I had to break it down so I could put things in motion. As a General Manager, I knew that I would have little or no control over where I would live or would work. As the owner of a startup advertising agency, I would be starting from absolute zero. There wasn’t any assurance that my company would ever get off the ground. Could I take that kind of a chance? Would I really eat ravioli straight out of the can in order to make it??? I was in my early 30s at the time, I wasn’t married and I didn’t have any children. So, I decided to put it all on the line and take the risk. Big risk- big reward- right!?

LD
I know you said that starting your own company was like “jumping out of an airplane!” How so?

DG
Leaving a six-figure job with a nice client expenses account and a car allowance to become a poor entrepreneur, to me, was a bit like jumping out of a plane. The scariest part was making the decision to jump. Once I finally made my mind up to get the hell out, there wasn’t any getting back into the plane. The way I saw it, once you’re out, you’re out. The safety net was pulled away. Now, it’s time to really see what you’re made of.

LD
What is your best advice to those willing to take the risk?

DG
First, you’ve got to believe in yourself, your skills and your abilities. Second, you’ve got to know that the payoff might not come for sometime. Third, when you make the jump, you had better be hungry and extremely optimistic. It’s hard to always be up when the money isn’t rolling in right away. Next, you can’t wait for someone to raise the bar for you. You’ve got to raise the bar for yourself. You are either a self-starter or you’re not. Don’t bullshit yourself. When you are banking on yourself and your reputation, you always need to remember that there is no such thing as a lapse in integrity. You either have it, or you don’t.

buzz-buildingLD
You must have faced some extremely difficult decisions when defining your new career path.

DG
This is without a doubt the hardest job that I have ever had. This is also the most rewarding job that I have ever had. It’s personal. When you own your own company, you are putting your name and reputation on the line. You have to take ownership of your mistakes. You can’t hide behind your station call letters when shit hits the fan. I started BUZZ out of my own wallet. You could say that I was all chips in from day one.

 

LD
I know your dad was an important role model for you, what was the best advice he gave you in the early years of your career?
DG
When I was in my early 20s, I asked my father if he could go back in time, what would he do differently. His answer really stuck with me. He said, “I would take more risks”. It’s funny, we both laugh about that now. I think I have taken enough risks for the two of us.

dad

LD
Tell us about your proudest achievements with BUZZ:

DG
That’s hard for me to pin down. I don’t know if I have achieved it yet. A good friend of mine in the advertising industry took me out for dinner at Jack Fry’s a few weeks ago. She told me that I don’t celebrate my own wins. She said, “You need to stop and smell the roses in life David. You’ve got to celebrate your victories.” The next day she sent a case of champagne over to my office with a note that said… “Here’s to your continued success! Celebrate the wins. Cheers!” I can’t tell you what that meant to me. Friends like that are hard to find.

LD
The future of BUZZ seems very exciting. Tells us about a few of your up and coming projects.

DG
The project that we are working on now for Susan G. Komen Kentucky is pretty exciting. I can’t wait until we launch it. I can’t give you any details but the ad campaign is going to make quite an impact. We’re going to change people’s lives in a very positive way. What we do as an advertising agency, for the PGA is great, but we’re not saving lives. The campaign that I am talking on for Susan G. Komen Kentucky is something that I will remember for the rest of my life.

 

LD
Your new building on Frankfort Avenue is fantastic!

DG
Thank you! The building was a wreck when I first bought it. I gutted this place from top to bottom, inside and out. The renovation took me over a year to complete. It wasn’t an easy task. The big events in your life never are.

LD
Last question, David How do you define success?

DG
Success to me is not about money. I enjoy a comfortable lifestyle, but success to me isn’t about how many toys you have when you die. Success to me is about the name that you created for yourself while you walked this planet. What did you do with your time? Did you make an impact? Would others say that you were you a good man? Did you give back to your community? What was your relationship like with your family? My father isn’t the wealthiest guy that I know but he’s the best man that I have ever met! That’s what success is to me.

buzz-logoTo Contact David Grantz and BUZZ:
1801 Frankfort Avenue
Louisville, Kentucky 40206
Office: 502-458-2899
Direct: 502-631-9571
Fax: 502-4582809