Highdive managing partner Louis Slotkin dies at 51

(From Highdive’s website)

The Chicago advertising family was hit with a loss as news spread this morning of the passing of Louis Slotkin, the beloved co-owner and managing partner of Highdive. Slotkin died on March 31 after losing a battle with colon cancer. He was 51.  

Slotkin’s remarkable 25-plus year marketing career took him around the world to agencies including Ogilvy (Paris+NY), Leo Burnett, C-K and Y&R, working with clients such as IBM, Miller Brewing, KraftHeinz, Unilever, CareerBuilder, Edward Jones, 5/3 Bank, Invesco, Hyatt + Sealy.

As Managing Partner of Highdive, Louis helped develop work that won several Super Bowl awards and top recognition from Ad Age.

Highdive released a statement on its website. “Louis Slotkin, Highdive co-owner and Managing Partner, passed away peacefully among close family and friends on March 31. He had been fighting cancer for two years.

Louis was instrumental in much of the foundation of Highdive including the guiding principles, company values and ways of working. It was his dream to help build an agency that centered on healthy relationships and delivered some of the most groundbreaking, fearless creative in the industry. Over the last six years, Louis’ contributions as Managing Partner helped Highdive experience rapid growth and earn recognition in Ad Age, Adweek, Communication Arts, Fast Company, Inc. Magazine and others.

Louis’ true gift was to see potential and elevate it. He could see the still-burning embers of an idea in the ashes, and fan them until they caught fire. He called this his “hidden magic” and he found it in talent, too. He loved watching someone swell with confidence in discovering their own potential. He altered the trajectory of many careers and lives, and his endless enthusiasm will continue to spread like bushfire. Louis was one of the industry’s all-time brightest starts, though he would have never told you so.

Louis considered it his job to transfer enthusiasm to others, and so his enthusiasm lives on at Highdive. Since his cancer diagnosis two years ago, we have downloaded the enthusiasm into the hard drive of Highdive and in turn transfer it to our work, our team, our partners and our clients every day. This is the gift he gave to everyone that has touched Highdive, and the legacy he leaves for years to come.

For those who wish to make a donation in Louis’ memory, he chose Glencoe Public Library, where his surviving mother worked for 32 years. You can donate directly to their homepage at www.glencoelibrary.org.”


Louis’ Journey

Slotkin was a well-known Francophile who loved the Cubs. He reveled in the culture, the language, the food, and most of all, the joie de vivre. And the Cubs.

Slotkin wrote on his Linkedin profile that he was, “the son of a meat man dad and a hippie librarian mom.” Slotkin describes how he moved to Paris and his experiences. “The only thing I was certain of after leaving the proverbial nest was that I wanted to live in Paris. After selling perfume in French malls and painting hotel rooms in Paris to earn my keep (& fund the obvious baguette+cheese habit), I fell in love with marketing at Ogilvy.”

Slotkin joined Highdive in 2017 with Leo Burnett colleague Megan Lally and soon found his way into the leadership team with founders and Chief Creative Officers Mark Gross and Chad Broude.

An agency he was vocally proud of, Slotkin had this to say about Highdive, “After experiencing the magic + the problems of holding agencies, my partners and I set out to design a better way-one where we could create happier + more successful lives for ourselves, our employees and our clients. That’s where Highdive comes in.”

He added, “Highdive is a full-service ad agency in Chicago, custom designed for client partners facing a new generation of challenges. With award-winning co-founder CCOs Mark Gross + Chad Broude and Managing Partner Megan Lally, we’ve built the agency with a simple mission: To create the healthiest Client + Agency relationships in the world. Not simply because we all deserve it (we do), but because of the scientific link between healthy relationships and creativity; When negativity reigns, our creative brains shut down. When positivity wins, creativity can flourish and great results follow.”

Under Slotkin, Highdive was honored for their Super Bowl work for Jeep 2020 with Bill Murray + Groundhog Day, (USA Today Ad Meter #1), Rocket Mortgage 2020 with Jason Momoa (USA Today Ad Meter #5), Rocket Mortgage 2021 with Tracy Morgan (USA Today Ad Meter #1 and #2), Rocket Mortgage 2022 with Anna Kendrick (USA Today Ad Meter #1) and Lay’s 2022 with Paul Rudd + Seth Rogen (USA Today Ad Meter #6).

He is survived by his mother, Lorraine Marks; brothers, Douglas (Susan) Slotkin and Steven (Elisabeth) Slotkin; step-mother, Edie Slotkin; nephew and nieces, Sam, Mira, and Melanie Slotkin; uncles and aunts, Stanley and Sharon Marks, Curtis and Carole Slotkin, Todd and Judy Slotkin, and Pamela Slotkin; beloved cousins, Lyndee Berkley, Ashley Marks, and Elissa, Keith, Daniel, Matthew, William, Thomas, and Peter Slotkin; grandnephew, Xander and step-siblings, Jim (Elyse) Mitthenthal, Bob (Hilarie) Mittenthal, and Jan (David) Rosen.

Services will be held on April 5 at 11:30 a.m. CT at Am Shalom in Glencoe, Illinois, and will be live-streamed. After the service, a gathering will take place for Highdive employees and others who worked with Slotkin.

Reel Chicago News extends our condolences to Louis’ family, both at home and at Highdive.

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