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AGENCY FOUNDER, ENTREPRENEUR KEITH McCRACKEN NAMED TO WORLDWIDE ASSOCIATION

November 7, 2002 Former APMA Worldwide President is Chief Marketing Officer of The GEM Group, London-HQ'd Experiential Marketing Agency

MIAMI -- Keith McCracken, founder and former CEO of the Minneapolis-based McCracken Brooks agency and now chief marketing officer for The GEM Group, an experiential marketing agency headquartered in London, has been selected as this year's nominee to the Marketing Agency Associations Worldwide Hall of Fame.

Mr. McCracken's nomination was announced during the GLOBE Awards here at the 23rd annual meeting of the MAA, which was formerly known as the Association of Promotion Marketing Agencies (APMA) Worldwide. Leading McCracken Brooks at a time when it was winning dozens of awards for promotional campaigns from trade magazines and associations, he served as APMA President from 1996 to 1998.

One Hall of Fame nomination is made each year by the association's executive committee to an agency executive "whose character, professional standing and career achievements epitomize the qualities and ideals that best reflect the standards our members strive to attain," said Neil Contess, incoming MAA Worldwide president.

"Keith served in many capacities before and after he became APMA president," observed Mr. Contess. "He worked tirelessly to promote the 'international' nature of the organization. He recommended the creation of our first multinational board of directors. He championed the idea of alternating meetings in the U.S. and abroad.

"He developed our professional development and recognition programs; he fostered formation of the university/college seminar program for young people that has become a regular feature of our annual conferences; and he traveled extensively in these endeavors, giving speeches and pep talks, promoting principles and best practices everywhere - all on his own time and at his personal expense."

In addition to balancing his APMA/MAA Worldwide activities with raising a family and building and running an award-winning agency, Mr. McCracken was active in a variety of community services and private good deeds, ranging from bootstrapping a district-wide fund-raising program for his son's Boy Scout troop, to volunteer work for the American Cancer Society, to a campaign that expanded the California-based "Food for All" program from local to national status. He remains active in the Twin Cities "Adopt a Family" Christmas program, and as an adjunct professor manages to teach classes at the St. Thomas Business School in Minneapolis.

Born in Liverpool, England in 1944, Mr. McCracken's career spanned both sides of the Atlantic as he advanced through the ranks in various sales and marketing positions at CPC International, Shell Consumer Products Group and Northrup King, Ltd. In 1984 he moved to the U.S. to become president and CEO of an NK spin-off called Agrigenetics.

Two years later, with the backing of the late Bill Brooks, he founded the promotion agency, which he sold in 1998 to the corporate entity that is now the Interpublic Group of Agencies. In 2000 Mr. McCracken became a founding partner in GEM, a unit of the CSS Stellar Group that has nine offices in the U.K., Canada and several U.S. cities, providing sports, entertainment and event marketing solutions for clients in more than 20 countries worldwide.

"There is no greater form of recognition than the kind that comes from your peers," he told an audience of 100 members and their guests at the black-tie GLOBES gala and Hall of Fame induction that took place here October 29. "I'm thankful for what I've been allowed to do for the MAA, and I'm grateful for what the MAA has done for me."

Induction into the Hall of Fame places Mr. McCracken in a pantheon of marketing-agency pioneers that includes Jeffrey McElnea (Einson Freeman), Joseph Flanagan (Impact), Bud Frankel (Frankel & Co.), Ralph Glendinning (TheGlendinning Company), Yves Kergrohenn (Euro RSCG), Diego Masi (Promotions Italia), Colin Lloyd (KLP plc), Bill Robinson (Robinson & Maites), Vincent Sottosanti (Comart/KLP), and Alan Toup (The Sales Machine). Keith McCracken and his wife Deborah reside in Minneapolis with their twin daughters Katherine and Elizabeth.

For additional information:
kmccracken@gemgroup.com
or kerryes@optonline.net