About Us

Although we do enjoy wearing tight Speedos, Highdive isn’t a dive team. We’re an independently-owned ad agency based in Chicago, IL. Our mission is to create the healthiest client + agency relationships in the world. The reason why is simple: When relationships aren’t healthy, performance suffers. Many of our philosophies are based on the writings of Patrick Lencioni and Brené Brown, among others: Performance comes from maximizing both Productivity and Positivity.

Our strategy and creative seek out the new and different with one goal in mind: to provoke our audiences to think differently about the brand and to ring our clients’ registers rather than someone else’s. Our litmus test is simple: If our work looks like, sounds like – or reminds consumers of – a competing brand, we haven’t done our job.We haven’t yet met a client for whom the current state of affairs is good enough. Each relationship comes with similar expectations: Sales and brand growth. In other words, something needs to change. Campaigns and marketing programs that are easy, safe, and “tried and true” will, by definition, keep things as they currently are. Not the recipe for healthy, long-term relationships.

We’re best known for producing creative that ignites brands and connects with consumers. We do that by grounding everything we do in brave thinking that moves markets.

Mediocre talent doesn’t cut it – for us or for our clients. The math is simple: every crumb of mediocrity negatively impacts the performance of our marketing and the health of client-agency relationships. The heart of our business model – and our financial structure – is based on being an agency of top performers only. Instead of paying ‘more people less’, we pay ‘less people more’. It means leaner, higher-performing teams who are able to elevate both performance and the quality of our client relationships.
When smart people disagree, there’s usually a good reason. The key to positivity is taking a beat to understand what’s behind the disagreement rather than leaping towards conflict. It’s why we prioritize the skill of being able to put ourselves in others’ shoes. Or what we affectionately refer to as “working at one-sided tables.” No one said it better than one of our clients: “You’re so sensitive to our words and our thoughts. You never ignore them, even when they’re jumbled up, ambiguous or different from yours. Rather than reject what we’ve said, you find what’s most important, uncover what hasn’t been said, and dig in to find a solution that works.” That’s a one-sided table in action.
Energy is the foundational element of great marketing and healthy relationships. With that, our walls are our primary presentation tool – not PowerPoint or Keynote. The walls unveil the good stuff from the moment everyone walks into the room and help keep the energy high. What’s the strategy? No one has to wait to find out – it’s on the wall. What are the campaigns? On the wall. What are the hidden problems we’ve uncovered that are creating a drag on the business? Again, on the wall. Everyone’s ideas are captured as we go. We challenge one another, debate, write even better ideas and then distill the magic together. Everyone is heard. Everyone contributes. And most importantly, it’s how we get to the really good stuff faster. Together and in real time.




Many years ago, on a bitter cold Chicago morning, Chad and Mark were merrily riding a tandem bicycle along the scenic Lake Shore Drive waterfront. They were both smiling ear to ear and humming their favorite show tune “Honeysuckle Rose” when suddenly a squirrel ran into their path. They swerved to avoid him, struck a large rock, sending them both into the icy waters of Lake Michigan. Mark made it out and pulled a cold and frightened Chad to shore. Blue in the face, scared and barely alive, Chad looked at Mark and said, “It’s over, we’re never going to live our dream and open the perfect ad agency.” Mark looked at the remorseful squirrel then back at Chad and said to him, “Buddy, If you pull through this, I promise, we’ll live that dream and open Highdive.” It will be the agency of our dreams. No political layers, outstanding creative, exciting clients that we love and respect, amazing account service, a workspace that allows dogs and most important of all, bathrooms that have floor to ceiling toilet doors so no one can see your feet when you’re doing your business. The end.