Today we’d like to introduce you to John Mank.
Hi John, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today.
I have a fine arts background in painting and drawing but needed something more reliable and consistent in the form of a paycheck. So I studied Design and Visual Communications, which has led to a 30+ plus career as a creative in Advertising and Marketing. I started my career as a graphic design intern with Kupper Advertising which later merged with Parker Group to become Kupper Parker Advertising, where I returned after college to work full-time as a Designer. After a stint there, I worked as an Art Director at two other St. Louis Agencies, D’arcy and Schupp Company. Throughout my time at agencies, I was fortunate to have had the privilege to work alongside and learn from some of the most talented people in the business. I took that knowledge to Enterprise Holdings, INC, where I worked as a Creative Manager, guiding and mentoring an internal creative team of 12 for 21 years in their Marketing Department. During that time, I was privy to the client side of Marketing and Advertising, where I grew a deeper appreciation for brands, business lines, and their purposes.
As people do in this type of business, one tends to get restless looking for other opportunities or outlets. For me, it was a hidden passion for storytelling. I was told for years that “picture people” shouldn’t write. So I had to prove them wrong. I started with simple headlines and body copy. But then moved to pursue one of my passions and created a business around it. Cliffhangers Production (an independent publishing company that specializes in the art of the cliffhanger made famous in newspaper publications over a century ago. cliffhangerspro.com. The premise is simple. You purchase a book from our site, and we care for the rest. All that you need is an email and a phone or computer. We then send you the chapters of a purchased book in increments every few days until the story is complete. The writing isn’t Shakespeare, but it is fun and keeps me entertained.
My other business is FLIGHT – where we want to help people get their ideas off the ground. It started as a place to show my creative work. But the intent is to grow it into an agency that focuses on creating, leading, and delivering relevant and effective innovative solutions with bold and compelling messages that strengthen brand(s) strategies and are cohesive across all marketing channels. Plain and simple. You won’t get any slick marketing talk or analytics from us. Our focus is on your story.
So I guess to sum it up, it has been a great career so far in an industry that continues to change rapidly. And I am excited for what the future holds, for our story creations through CliffHangers (pen name) or others’ stories through FLIGHT.
We all face challenges, but looking back, would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
The road hasn’t always been the smoothest. Agency life isn’t always an 8-5 job. Being a deadline-driven industry, you have to do what it takes to meet the objective—sometimes resulting in late nights or weekend hours. And when agencies lose major clients, layoffs tend to follow. On the flip side, corporate creativity can seem safe. Again, I was in a place for 21 years. It was a certain time in my life to raising a family. But complacency can lead to staleness, especially in a constantly evolving industry. If you don’t evolve with it, you can easily be left behind. One of the most challenging things has been learning the digital side of the business—social media and web design, which I had to do when building Cliffhangers. I learned how to build the Website in WordPress and the UX in Mailchimp, Woocommerce, and Elementor. All foreign languages to me, but I managed through by watching various YouTube videos. The result creates a unique experience that no one else in the publishing industry is doing.
As you know, we’re big fans of Cliffhangers Production LLC and FLIGHT. For our readers who might not be as familiar, what can you tell them about the brand?
With Cliffhangers, I created a unique user experience that no one else in the publishing industry, as far as I know, is doing. That is probably what I am most proud of brand-wise. Also, the business name is the brand, and I created everything connected with it; the content on the website and socials, logos on merchandise – the whole experience. We are redefining the art of storytelling one chapter at a time. We like to say that we offer some twisted history and a healthy mix of Pop Culture resulting in a complete literary experience without ever leaving the house. Is it the greatest literature in the world? Well, it’s not Shakespearean horny teens from opposing families relying on bad communication outlets to hide their forbidden love and succumbing to poor planning. But it does have a little bit of something for everyone. And as long as it brings a sense of escape for those who might need a little R&R from today’s chaos by offering just enough cheese to compliment the whine coming from today’s society, we’ve done our job. We encourage you to be the judge by checking our novel – BLACK ICE – the first in many to come. cliffhangerpro.com. – Stories Worth the Wait.
With FLIGHT – we specialize in a common sense creative to tell your story. You have an idea; we’d like to help get it off the ground by recommending a creative plan to do so. Overall, I take pride in the fact that I can work with minimal direction. I wouldn’t go as far as being a mind reader, but I can understand what people want to achieve with their messaging. With FLIGHT, you get the services of a Creative that understands the creative process. A collaborative working experience where we work as a team to develop the best possible solution(s) for your various brand(s) story. Again, our Advertising/Marketing expertise is creative driven – creative direction, art direction, graphic design, social media, concept development, brand standards and guidelines, and print management. Our work can be viewed at https://www.instagram.com/flight.agency/.
So, how can our readers or others connect or collaborate with you before we go? How can they support you?
With CliffHangers, people can support us independently by going to our website, cliffhangerspro.com, and purchasing our first novel of many to come – BLACK ICE. Or simply by buying some merch and going on socials and spreading the word about this unique literary experience that can only be found through our website and nowhere else – not even on Amazon! Again, we are the only ones offering this academic experience through today’s tech. We will soon launch a podcast called Cliff’s Notes® – Stories Worth the Wait® Please subscribe to it when it comes out. With FLIGHT, we can be reached at email@example.com. No project is too small; we would love to help get your ideas off the ground. Or spread the word on socials. Open to hourly, contract, or retainer-type work.
- Website: https://cliffhangerspro.com/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cliffhangerspro/
- Other: https://www.instagram.com/flight.agency/
Image on CliffHangers screen: PEXELS – Roman Odintsov