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Chris Spiro inducted to the Florida & Caribbean Advertising Hall of Fame

Inaugural class honoree

By CJ HADDAD - | May 11, 2023

A locally-based business leader with more than three decades of experience in his realm is being inducted into an inaugural hall of fame class.

Chris Spiro, founder, CEO and Chief Creative Officer of Spiro & Associates, was inducted into the first-ever class of the Florida & Caribbean Advertising Hall of Fame. The hall of fame honors individuals who have distinguished themselves during advertising careers of more than 20 years working in Florida or the Caribbean. Spiro was inducted along four others during the American Advertising Federation’s District 4 Annual Conference.

“It’s very humbling,” Spiro said of being inducted. “It’s an organization and an industry I’ve spent a lifetime in. I was very humbled by it, especially looking at the other honorees that are being inducted. There are folks that are being honored that are just hallmarks in our industry, and I’m just humbled to be considered in this inaugural class with them.”

Among Spiro’s noteworthy accomplishments is his involvement with AAF. He has chaired the district meeting, chaired the local and 4th District “Addy” awards, was co-creative director for the 4th Dress For Success campaign, and is one of the original Table 1 card holders.

Chairman of the Florida & Caribbean Advertising Hall of Fame Mike Weber said of the class: “This very exclusive group of advertising professionals have had distinguished advertising careers and remarkable professional achievements that elevated the advertising industry in Florida and the Caribbean for more than 20 years. Chris stands out because of how he blended outstanding advertising practices, and award winning creativity, with community involvement and economic development.”

The AAF’s 4th District comprises the state of Florida and the Caribbean, and serves as an advocate for the advertising and marketing world. Spiro said the association has evolved over the years, now at the forefront of artificial intelligence and the digital era.

“The AAF as a whole has been the keepers of the ad industry,” Spiro said. “4th District, we do things a little differently. So much of what we do is focused on tourism and the building industry, that there’s some very good strategic alliances that have been built through the AAF accordingly. It’s very, very rewarding.”

Spiro, who has 34 years in the industry, has seen it all when it comes to the changing world of advertising and marketing. Spiro has earned hundreds of advertising and community awards, including being named Cape Coral’s Citizen of the Year in 2004.

He has helped redefine how businesses look at themselves by creating brand awareness and marketing campaigns that have been game changers. He has helped 13 client builders sell more than 2,750 homes in a single year. Spiro has brought many projects to reality,including a $200 million technology park and a $176 million high-rise condo complex in the Fort Myers River District. Spiro built a new national product manufacturing deal that retained jobs and improved distribution. Besides their cutting edge and transformational work with local clients, Spiro and his team of self-proclaimed “maverick marketers” are constantly connecting regional clients with people who live and work from as far away as Colorado and California.

“There’s also fun stuff,” Spiro said. “To hear from the creative director who created ‘Kool-Aid Man’ and the whole ‘Kool-Aid’ campaign. To hear from the creative director that created the Absolute Vodka campaign, which is still running today. I’ve had the opportunity as part of this association, to be a speaker myself around the state and the Caribbean, and to serve as a judge for the ‘Addy’ awards, which is such an honor.”

Spiro also is a community builder, leading efforts that helped lower impact fees for builders and their clients in Lee County through his connections with the Lee County Building Industry Association. He is credited with increasing membership 23% as a board member for the Cape Coral Construction Industry Association.

“With the relationships that I’ve built in the nearly 40 years that I’ve been in business in Lee County, I’ve been able to put people with people, to help them understand how they can mitigate impact fees, (and) how they can maximize the footprint of the land that they’re (working),” Spiro said.

Spiro has been a Cape Coral resident since 1970 and is a University of Florida grad. Spiro & Associates opened its doors in 1989, and is a full-service marketing, advertising and public relations firm boasting several national awards and accolades that offers services from branding, to ad production across all mediums.

Wanting to immerse himself in the community, Spiro became a public speaker, conducting engagements for colleges and universities, business groups, real estate events, Lee County Public Schools gatherings, the Disney Institute, Women’s Council of Realtors, the Ford Motor Company’s Next Generation Learning initiative for students and the local STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) initiative for high school students. He also began serving on boards of directors and executive committees including the Chamber of Commerce of Cape Coral, Florida’s Southern Gulf Chapter of the American Red Cross, Cape Coral Council for Progress, Lee BIA’s Sales and Marketing Council, the Southwest Florida Gator Club, and was named President of The Horizon Foundation in 2022 (now immediate past president).

With four generations of his family having worked in print, Spiro thought he’d live his life with ink under his fingernails.

Instead, he wanted to show his artistic and creative side.

“I like to create. I’ve been blessed to be able to provide ideas,” Spiro said.

He said his favorite moments to date have been hiring his father and children to work at his business.

“As you look at the history of this firm, you’ll see my children’s smiling faces in campaigns,” Spiro said.

A memorable campaign was the Engle Homes “The End Is Near” campaign Spiro & Associates had launched right as the housing market was crashing.

“And we were able to get our client out of their inventory hell and sell 141 of 145 homes in 90 days,” Spiro said.

“But the biggest success we have is when we get that ‘thank you’ from our clients.”

Spiro also is proud of his work with non-profits and improving the quality of life for our community. He was the primary catalyst for a food donation campaign, called “SOS: Save Our Summer-Feed the Cape” to benefit the Cape Coral Caring Center.

“We do that pro bono. We do that because we want to keep this as a better place than we found it, and help feed people that are hungry,” Spiro said.

He also has donated personal resources to Ronald McDonald House Charities, the Chamber of Commerce of Cape Coral, the Cape Coral Council For Progress and many other groups.

Spiro said he’s also proud of his former employees who go on to successes of their own, and of those who call the office home today.

Spiro took out an ad in the hall of fame induction program of a photo of his face made up of Spiro & Associates members past and present.

“It’s not just a thank you for the award, but it’s a thank you to all the faces, hands, and minds that have built this brand over the nearly 40 years I’ve been doing this,” Spiro said. “I’m very blessed and surrounded by some of the greatest minds and greatest hands in the business.”

The other honorees of the inaugural Florida & Caribbean Advertising Hall of Fame are: Terri Brown, CEO of MLB Creative St. Thomas; Art Rowbotham, President of Hall Communications Radio Group Lakeland; Pete Barr Sr., retired founder of Fry, Hammond, Barr (now &Barr) Orlando; and Troy Dunn, President & CCO of Dunn&Co Tampa.