Mike Hughes joined The Martin Agency in 1978, served as creative director for three decades and has been the company’s president since 1995.
In 2010, he appeared on the cover of Adweek with his business partner of 35 years, agency chairman John Adams, when The Martin Agency was named Agency of the Year. That same year, he was also named to Creativity magazine’s “Creativity 50” alongside Lady Gaga and James Cameron.
One of The Wall Street Journal’s recognized creative leaders, he’s a member of both the One Club’s Creative Hall of Fame and the Virginia Communications Hall of Fame.
He was the founding board chairman of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Brandcenter, which honored him by naming the Brandcenter building “Mike Hughes Hall” and awarding him a Doctor of Humane Letters, the university’s highest honor.
A former director of the American Association of Advertising Agencies and chairman of its creative committee, Hughes has also served on the board of directors for The One Club for Art & Copy in New York. He’s served as judge for the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity and has been a leader in the Advertising Council’s post-9/11 Freedom and Homeland Security campaigns.
In 2000, the oldest governing body in the Western Hemisphere, the Virginia General Assembly, named Adams and Hughes the Commonwealth’s Outstanding Industrialists of the Year.
Hughes was born in 1948 in Washington, D.C. He was a newspaper reporter for Richmond’s major newspapers while in high school and college and for 18 months after graduation. Except for his time running the Richmond Times-Dispatch’s Lexington bureau while he was a student at Washington and Lee, he’s spent his entire career in Richmond.
Harry Jacobs, The Martin Agency’s chairman emeritus and Mike’s mentor, hired Hughes in 1978 as senior vice president and co-creative director of The Martin Agency.
Hughes fought lung cancer for nearly two decades and passed away on December 15, 2013. He was 65. One year prior to his death, Mr. Hughes began posting his thoughts on living and dying on his blog, Unfinished Thinking.
Hughes is survived by his wife of 38 years, Ginny, and they had two sons, Preston (deceased) and Jason.