The Most Interesting Man In York?
Is Mel Campbell the most interesting man in York?
Who knows? There's a lot of interesting guys in this town, so it's up for debate.
But you could make a case for it.
Look at that face. Look at his life.
He had a hand in building the Norman Wood Bridge. He worked in a famous Maine boatyard for a summer and occasionally assisted local lobstermen. In 1970, he and two friends took a 16-foot Winnebago through Mexico and Central America on their way to Tierra Del Fuego on the southern tip of South America. Unfortunately, political turmoil in Panama forced them to turn around mid-journey. So they headed north, driving through the western United States into Canada, before taking a trans-Canadian route home.
He saved two dozen children from a burning bus.
Check that. He never saved any children. But he would have, given the opportunity.
He did, however, spend a night in a New York jail – having something to do with a friend hitting 130 in a Corvette and then being escorted to the home of a none-too-happy Chemung County district justice at 3:30 in the morning. He’s punctured a lung, too, lost full function of two of the fingers, broken some bones, had some operations along the way but for the most part is in good shape.
He lived his formative years in the 60s and 70s, but can’t remember. Frequented Watkins Glen for the Grand Prix and CAN AM races during many of the Bog Years. Sat around a big campfire in Big Sur a couple of nights in the 70s with some very famous people, but can’t remember names without his log which he can’t find. Went to Woodstock. Had a beer with George Harrison. Was naked on a beach next to naked Jane Fonda. Wears a kilt when he really gets formal. Speaks English, broken French, even more broken Spanish, and understands Scottish. Was educated in the York City school system through to York High, but finished at a prep school in the middle of the Berkshires. Has climbed mountains, fly-fished with sharks and grizzly bears, skied, sailed, raced in whitewater canoe competitions and motocross. He’s met and befriended people from all over the world.
His favorite professional sports team is the Tottenham Hotspurs. Also the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings? He has a Cobra, but he drives a Jag – unless it’s snowing, in which case he drives his jeep with the roof off. And he still rides his Harley.
In the spring time, he heads toward the equator for his annual bone-fishing foray. In the fall, it’s off to a remote Canadian fishing spot – accessed by helicopter only – in search of steeelhead. And in between, he’s a fly-fisherman. Oh, he also played competitive soccer through age 59 and competitive volleyball through age 66.
He has a dog the size of a pony and a Christmas wreath the size of an elephant: It hangs on his barn, which is the size of, well, a barn.
His signature mustache has been there forever. And the hair, once very long, is now shaved tight to the skull.
But he still has that laugh that booms as it spreads from one heart to another.
And he aims that laugh as much at himself as anyone else. Ask him about the time his foot slipped into the toilet, or the time his mom taught him the meaning of whupass.
He’s committed to the community, too. He’s a past chairman of the board and founder of Downtown Inc, past chairman of the board of the York Business Improvement District Authority, and past board member of the Strand Capital Performing Arts Center. He coached youth soccer and, for 20 years, women’s soccer. He’s also a 24-year member of the Lycoming College Board of Directors and is set to spearhead the school’s gazillion dollar capital campaign beginning next fall. And that’s just a smattering…
In between all those pursuits, he’s founded and led the advertising agency and marketing firm — Campbell, Harrington & Brear – that for more than 35 years has consistently generated the kinds of measurable results that breed loyalty, respect, lasting relationships and on-going success for local and national clients alike. And he started that firm on a “desk” that was actually a four-by-eight sheet of plywood resting on a pair of sawhorses.
So is he the most interesting man in York?
Who knows? But as Coach Bum Phillips said in discussing Mel’s “cousin”, running back Earl Campbell, “I don't know if he's in a class by himself, but I do know that when that class gets together, it sure don't take long to call the roll.”
Great Ideas Stand the Test of Time
When Mel Campbell founded CH&B in July of 1978, his concept was simple: great advertising is based upon great creative ideas. Since then, he's added the best designers, strategists, and developers to be found in the region and together they've built an agency that, like the best advertising, stands the test of time.
The Campbell, Harrington & Brear team has helped hundreds of companies discover their brands, launch their products, and establish new markets through great creative ideas executed with sound, consistent strategies. And they've done so through some of the most transformative years the business world has ever seen.
As we look forward to whatever the digital age offers next, the principles of memorable, effective advertising will continue to be the foundation of our firm.
Most Interesting Man In the World
Agency: Havas Worldwide, New York
Chief Creative Officer: Lee Garfinkel
©California Milk Processing Board
Agency: Goodby Silverstein and Partners, San Francisco
Creative directors: Jeff Goodby and Rich Silverstein
M’m M’m Good!
©CSC Brands, LP