Dave Ehlers is the chief executive officer of Blue 449 in the United States and Publicis Media Canada. With an unrivaled passion for his agency and clients, Dave Ehlers keeps Blue 449 and Publicis Media Canada at the forefront of the media industry. He is responsible for the success and execution of the agency’s core programs and initiatives.
Under his leadership, Blue 449 has celebrated numerous new business wins, including Bridgestone/Firestone, Liberty Mutual, Metro PCS, Pizza Hut, Tempur Sealy and eBay, and the agency’s revenue and margin have increased significantly.
A 25-year media veteran, Dave has spent the majority of his career within Publicis Groupe and was an original member of the Zenith staff, having moved from Bates Advertising to Zenith Media in 1995. Prior to joining Blue 449, Dave was both CEO and President of Optimedia in the United States and served as part of the leadership team that led Optimedia’s evolution into Blue 449 in 2016.
Dave served as EVP, Managing Director of ZenithOptimedia (ZO) until 2011, where he managed the agency's new business, as well as talent development, human resources, and public relations. He also oversaw the launches of ZO Multicultural and Newcast, ZO’s branded entertainment division.
Dave also served as SVP, Director of Corporate Development and Account Director at ZO, where he managed the accounts of various global clients including HSBC Banks, Wendy’s, Exxon Mobil, LeapFrog and Alcatel.
Dave believes that executives set an example for the future of leadership and has dedicated his time to giving back to the community and the industry. Dave leads the pro-bono efforts for GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network) where he and his team have increased advertising awareness by five-fold in the last two years. A testament to Dave’s impactful management of GLSEN, Blue 449 was honored at the 2016 GLSEN Respect Awards. In 2017, Blue 449 and GLSEN also won a Cynopsis Social Good award, awarded to awareness campaigns supporting children’s issues.
In October of 2015, Dave received a National Service Award from the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters. Furthermore, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) named Blue 449 one of the Best Places to Work in New York State for 2015 and 2016 by, and the Indiana Chamber of Commerce’s Best Places to Work in Indiana for 2016.
Dave has also taught at both his alma mater, Michigan State University, where he graduated with a BA in Advertising, and Howard University. Additionally, Dave holds a prominent role on the 4A’s Media Leadership Committee in an effort promote best practices across the advertising industry.