April 2017 The Review: From Era to Era The Advertising and Marketing Review Lives On

Updated: May 10, 2019

Publisher Ken Custer hands reins over to Carleen Clearwater

By Ken Custer, Publisher, The Review

Advertising and Marketing Review (now The Review) has been reporting the advertising, marketing and media news about the industry in Colorado for the past 40 years. It all started in 1977 when Bob Brown took the Ad Club Denver’s Denvertising and turned it into the Rocky Mountain Advertising & Marketing Review. His goal was to have a regional publication that also included a special section for the Ad Club. Not long after starting the publication Bob had a stroke and his wife Willa Brown, then Executive Director or the Ad Club, along with some help, tried to maintain the magazine. Unfortunately it became too much of a burden and it was sold to Westates Publishing.

In 1991, CSC Publishing purchased Advertising & Marketing Review and has maintained it for the past 25 plus years. The mission of the magazine has not changed and that is to report the news, organization events and progress of the industry. Over 15 industry related organizations have been an integral part of the magazine, some still thriving, some now gone. Many carried their monthly newsletters in the publication at various times over the years.

Keeping up with the changes as the industry moved into the digital age was always a challenge and a reason to keep moving forward. The magazine was printed and mailed monthly until 2010 when the first online version was posted. In 2011, the magazine went fully online. The online, page turn version was made possible by Steve Stone at Options MultiMedia, who developed the program and posted the finished magazine every month.

It is amazing the number of changes that have occurred over 25 years. From the era of receiving press releases by FAX and snail mail and supplying film and halftones to the printer, then the era of supplying a disc for digital printing presses and now the online era, the industry rapidly changed and everyone had to scramble to keep up.

Now comes the next era for Advertising & Marketing Review. The current owner, CSC Publishing, and its publisher/editor Ken Custer, is ready to pass the baton to a younger and more progressive group that can keep up with the business and all the changes. The new era will be led by Carleen Clearwater and her group from Kickass Marketing and Creativethat will take the publication into the next generation. Carleen has spent time in the newspaper business as well as currently in marketing and design. She has been working closely with Ken this past year designing the new website and has assembled a team that is ready to go and ready to serve the industry in Colorado.

There are many people and organizations I have worked with and need to thank for their support over the years. First and foremost would be Tom Mulvey who supplied guidance, columns and support from day one until his retirement in 2008. For most of the 25+ years, Glen Emerson Morris has supplied a monthly column (now called Convergence) about the Internet and the business with prediction of changes, most of which have come true. Plus Glen maintained a national website, ad-mkt-review.com, that kept the world informed about the industry in Colorado. A great social adventure that lasted 12 years was SummerToast. Christine Cook, then AMA President, Marilee Yorchak, BMA Executive Director and I met to plan a summer social event for all organizations. The first event, staged at Coors Brewery drew 400 people. Soon the event was so large Sandra Murray was hired to take it on and it grew to more than 1000 attending each year.

Over the years many graphic designers and photographers (far too many to list here) contributed their talents to create covers for the magazine. One in particular, Laurie Shields, Laurie Shields Design, probably did the most. Another thank you goes to the crew at Elevated Third who designed a maintained The Review website for many years.

Next to thank would be the organizations and their leaders, volunteer and paid staff that supported our efforts. This includes:

  • Denver Advertising Federation (now reborn as Ad Club Denver) and Executive Director Willa Brown.

  • Former Business Marketing Association and Executive Director Marilee Yorchak.

  • American Marketing Association and their volunteer officers too numerous to mention here.

  • The former Rocky Mountain Direct Marketing Association with Executive Directors Sandi Rhynard, and Mary Shaw.

  • Other organizations that have always supported The Review include: Art Directors Club of Denver, American Institute of Graphic Arts, American Society of Media Photographers, Colorado Film & Video Association, Colorado Healthcare Communicators, Broadcast Pioneers of Colorado, Denver Press Club, International Association of Business Communicators, and Public Relation Society of America. Advertising & Marketing Review has always been advertiser supported.

Unfortunately, do to changing times; many of these advertisers are no longer in business. The pre-press houses, photo shops, some post production houses and many of the printers are gone. Others still in business include Crew Connection, Payreel, The Creative Group, Crosspoint, Citizen Pictures, and Post Modern. Each year The Review Online Services Directory has featured the many services available to advertisers in Colorado.

Now, as a new era starts, the magazine passes to Carleen and her Kickass Marketing and Creative group to take this 40-year old publication to new heights in the digital and social media age. Stay with them, support them and they will keep you informed about Colorado’s greatest creative, advertising, marketing and media industry as it gains even more prominence and national stature. Now a word about the next era.

Ken Custer The Review with Carleen Clearwater Kickass Marketing and Creative
The Review Publisher Ken Custer hands over the reigns to Carleen Clearwater of Kickass Marketing and Creative | Photo by: Jeff Perry/Rocky Mountain Photography

What’s Love Got to Do with Being a Publisher?

By Carleen Clearwater, Kickass Marketing and Creative


It is in my bones to bring people together. Since I’ve been a kid, I have been finding avenues and creating events to broker relationships and forge partnerships. It started with producing talent shows and kid’s parties and grew up to be theatre, awards events, workshops and conferences. When we collaborate, team up, share ideas and strengths or partner on projects – we kickass.  Why? Because together is better – not just as professionals, but as a community.


I look back and realize I have been on the path of being a publisher of a magazine for about four decades. As a young lady, I was ripping out pages of magazines to decorate my walls just like all the other teenyboppers drooling over fashion and celebrities. I laugh because the difference is I was hanging up ads on my walls and bags sportin’ the best logos from my favorite stores. That brand junkie and logo hoarder got to college and instinctually threw her Accounting Major (how did that happen?) to the wind and switched to a PR and Communications Major with a Minor in Theatre.

Why the mini history lesson? Because, the choice to study that dynamic duo of career tracks put me on the path to start collecting tools to help me bring people together.  Tools like graphic design, marketing, press releases, and newsletters as well as understanding relationship dynamics between people helped me learn the hustle it took to put butts in the seats on any budget. Let’s be real. It was college theatre, there was no budget.

I graduated college in 1995 and landed my first magazine gig at South Florida Magazine. I was the temporary fill in for the secretary going on maternity leave. That three-month stint taught be more about being a pro in any industry than any class in college. First, when you answer the phones, you know everything that is happening in the business. Second, when your desk is in the lobby, people say everything in front of you – and I mean EVERYTHING. The best part about that job? I was BORED OUT OF MY MIND. So, I took advantage of their gazillion dollar color copier to start cutting and pasting and shrinking and white-outing edges to create mini editorial calendar promo flyers for sales people.  I stuffed every envelope, helped paint pet rocks for a party, assembled media kits and stuffed schwag bags. Whatever anyone needed help with- I did it. I was dug in like a tick at that magazine.

I was everyone’s go-to assistant. My reward? In a few months, I moved to the back as the new Production Assistant. It was now my full-time job to help sales people look good, make the marketing team’s collateral a priority, and attend to every graphic design need for our 100s of advertisers. My first paid client ad and first “house ad” published in the Twentieth Anniversary Edition of South Florida Magazine in October of 1995. I was hooked. I was in advertising + marketing + PR + sales + schmooze heaven. I was where I was meant to be – right smack dab in the middle of the glorious frenzy of publishing.


A few jobs down the marketing career path later, I landed at The Gazettein Colorado Springs in 1998. My thirteen-year career there started as a Graphic Designer then moved up the ranks to be the Advertising Art and Design Manager for a team of seventeen and then to be the Creative Director. My life there shaped me to be someone who thrived being in the middle of divisions and rallying teams that all spoke different biz languages to come together to do great things. Hell, we survived publishing a daily newspaper with more than twenty specialty products. I loved the buzz. More importantly, working for them surrounded by incredibly dedicated people taught me what it meant to love what I do every day. And that being able to go to work every day and from your gut believe in what you and your company are doing is a privilege.


I met Ken a few years back at a Colorado AMA networker when I was new to the Denver business community. I knew two things immediately. One, he knew everyone and therefore I wanted to know him.  Two, he loved The Review. His passion for the marketing and advertising community is contagious. The level of dedication he has gifted this magazine is unmeasurable.  As the new publisher, I can promise you this. I love The Review. I will treat it with the respect and tenacity that Ken has for the past twenty-five years.


Aggregated Community Calendar: Nonprofits will be able to share a link to their calendar with us to plugin to our app, and it will automatically pull events, images, and links into our one-stop-shop calendar for industry pros to know where to go to network and learn.The List: We are launching a new robust directory for agencies, nonprofit organizations, freelancers, creative and digital services, photographers/video professionals, and job seekers. These interactive full-page listings include website/social links, messaging, logo, photo galleries, video, banner ads, downloadable attachments, 350 words of copy, and all business contact information.Peer to Peer Profiles: Professionals will be paired up as interviewer and interviewee to capture the behind-the-scenes of interesting pros and organizations in our industry that are killing it and guide our readers to who to know for what they need.New E-magazine Design: We will be re-launching as a quarterly in July 2017 with a revamp to be more interactive and accessible on desktop, tablets and mobile. Time-sensitive news will be shared on our website and social.

To all of you who have been a part of the journey that got us to this place, thank you. I look forward to flipping pages with you in the future – together. Want in on the next era of The Review? Contact me at 720-638-0814 or carleen@kickassmarketingandcreative.com.