Mark Putnam

The founding partner of Putnam Partners, Mark has been a national political media consultant and campaign strategist for over two decades, helping elect nine governors, nine U.S. senators, dozens of members of the U.S. House of Representatives and an American president.

Mark has created some of the most talked-about political advertising campaigns of the last decade, including the advertising for Senator Heidi Heitkamp’s surprise 2012 win that The Washington Post called “one of the most amazing results on Election Day... Heitkamp’s huge over-performance was built on her quality as a candidate and the quality of her TV ads.”

Mark’s highest profile project was writing and producing Barack Obama’s 2008 election eve 30-minute television special that aired simultaneously on seven networks and was viewed by over 35 million people. The Washington Post television critic Tom Shales called it “somehow both poetic and practical, spiritual and sensible... a montage of montages, a series of seamlessly blended segments.”

In 2012, Mark continued his work on the Obama Media Team, creating many nationally aired television ads, including the “47 Percent” ad that the Los Angeles Times and Politico both called “the best” ad of the campaign. National Journal called it “haunting” and The Guardian said it was “the one that really packed the most devastating punch.”

Mark also wrote and produced the Michelle Obama biographical films “South Side Girl” and “Michelle” for the 2008 and 2012 Democratic conventions. “South Side Girl” was called “intimate” and “emotional” by Newsweek, and The New York Times called it “vivid.”

In 2014, a disastrous year where only four Democratic candidates for governor won out of 14 “toss up” races, Mark produced the advertising for two of those winning campaigns – Governors John Hickenlooper in Colorado and Gina Raimondo in Rhode Island. That year, Mark also helped U.S. Senator Tom Udall win re-election in New Mexico, despite a strong challenge by a self-funding multimillionaire Tea Party candidate.

In his book, The Audacity to Win, Obama campaign manager David Plouffe called Mark “one of the best producers in our party.”

Mark has had eleven ads named among the “Best Ads” of 2008, 2010, 2012, and 2014 by Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post and has also won 91 Pollie Awards for excellence in political advertising. CBS News called his “Shower” ad for Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper the “best ad” of 2010, and Mark shared in the Obama for America campaign’s unprecedented two Grand Prix Awards at the 2009 Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival.

In all, Putnam has been a lead strategist and created national television advertising for four presidential campaigns, served as chief speechwriter for two presidential campaigns and has been a lead consultant on campaigns in 47 states.

Past and present clients include (partial listing): U.S. Senators Mark Begich (AK), Ben Cardin (MD), Bob Casey (PA), Heidi Heitkamp (ND) and Tom Udall (NM); Governors Phil Bredesen (TN), Brad Henry (OK), John Hickenlooper (CO), Ruth Ann Minner (DE), Gina Raimondo (RI), Bill Richardson (NM) and Brian Schweitzer (MT); Attorneys General Roy Cooper (NC) and Kamala Harris (CA); Representatives Mark Critz (PA), Barney Frank (MA), Bill Owens (NY) and Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (SD); and Mayors Karl Dean (Nashville), Steven Fulop (Jersey City), Michael Hancock (Denver), Tom Menino (Boston), Bill Peduto (Pittsburgh) and Francis Slay (St. Louis).

Mark’s international work includes serving as a lead strategist and producing advertising for the Czechoslovakian political movement “Public Against Violence,” voter education media for Russian parliamentary elections and, most recently, helping Prime Minister Michael Eman and the AVP win control of the Aruban parliament in 2009.

Born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska, Mark graduated from Brown University with a degree in Molecular Biology. In 1986, he worked with Squier-Eskew-Knapp Communications, and then served as Deputy Southern Coordinator on the 1987 Biden for President campaign. From 1988 to 1996, Mark was the Creative Director and a lead strategist with the Washington, DC firm of Fenn-King-Murphy-Putnam Communications. In 1997, Mark co-founded Murphy Putnam Media, where he was a lead strategist and Creative Director through the 2010 elections. Mark founded Putnam Partners in 2011.

Mark lives in Arlington, Virginia with his wife, Grace, and is immensely proud of their three children – John, Christopher, and Abigail.