Brand Tackle, Houston Marketing Firm Management Team

Do you think Houston is a good advertising town? Definitely. There are a bunch of great agencies in Houston. Probably three or four I’d call if I was a client. In fact, I’d put the work that’s coming out of Houston against a lot of the national players. I’m proud to call Houston home and I’m glad to work in such a healthy market with talented people.


With his career starting in the late '80s, Darrell brings a wealth of both client-side and agency-side experience to Brand Tackle. After graduating from Texas A&M University, he started his career at Union Texas Petroleum – at the time it was the world’s largest independent oil and gas company. His roles in operations, audit and various financial and operational capacities enabled him to travel the world for joint venture partners like Total and Elf Aquitaine. He even spent time in the field checking on assets in the deep jungles of Indonesia.

The next phase of Darrell’s career took him into IT consultancy roles. As a project manager, he worked with business units and technical groups to solve his customers’ challenges – experience that is invaluable to our clients every day. Timely execution of deliverables and keeping clients satisfied are high priorities for him.

Moving into marketing and advertising was a natural fit for Darrell. For over twenty years, he has had roles in business development, creative management, web design and development and account management on the agency side of marketing and advertising. In fact, for ten years he was a principal at one of Houston’s most successful advertising agencies in the region. Some of the clients Darrell has served include NOV, Burlington Resources, WesternGeco, Caterpillar, Anadarko Petroleum, DHL Worldwide, Tesco Corporation, Wild Well Control, Inspectorate, Ivy Steel & Wire, Merchants Metals, Diamond Offshore, U.S. Growth Funds, FMC Technology, Marquette Financial, Pride International, Pipeline Machinery International and Global Industries.

What do you like best about marketing?
» I really enjoy learning about the nuances of niche industries that most people never think about. I think people are generally curious – and it’s fascinating to delve into these companies that are off the radar to the general public. Just look at all of the shows on The History Channel and Discovery Channel these days – I am blessed to work in a profession that gives me a front row seat on a daily basis. Plus, it’s always fun to meet with top level executives. I enjoy the time we spend with the decision makers that can get things done at a high level. 

What’s your philosophy on business?
» It’s simple really. Work hard, get things done and make sure the client is happy. Nothing replaces hard work and dedication to your profession and clients. 

What do you do for fun?
» I am in two bands as a guitarist and backup vocalist. I play guitar in a Houston-area cover band. We play stuff from the '60s to modern day – mostly rock and country. It’s really a variety of music – Lynyrd Skynyrd, ZZ Top, 3 Doors Down, The Eagles, Alan Jackson…. I also play almost every weekend at church as part of the praise band. I also like to collect and restore guitars for fun.

How has marketing and advertising changed since you started?
» On the agency side, I’ve seen a lack of real-world business experience from candidates. You can add a lot of value when you can say you’ve stood in your clients’ shoes. In addition, while the tactical mix may have changed, nothing replaces the value of good, smart ideas. That hasn't changed. 

Freshwater or saltwater?
» Saltwater for sure. I grew up fishing in Port O’Connor. It’s one of my favorite places on the planet. Fish on!


James is a 25-year veteran of business-to-business marketing and advertising. After graduating from the prestigious University of Texas School of Advertising, he moved back to his hometown of Houston. “I had job offers with the big guys in New York and Chicago, but I wanted to stay close to the Houston Oilers,” he admits. Oops.

Throughout his career, James has been fortunate enough to work on some of the largest and strongest brands in the region, and the world. His past experience as a strategic planner, account manager, media planner, marketing director and creative director showcases his well-rounded depth. Some of his most notable brand experience includes ExxonMobil Corporation, ExxonMobil Chemical, Schlumberger, BMC Software, NOV, Caterpillar, Mustang Cat, Luther’s Bar-B-Q, TGS, WesternGeco, Dynegy, PGS Exploration, AT&T, Procter & Gamble, United Supermarkets, Brown & Root, Global Industries, Pride International, Tesco Corporation, Texas Children’s Hospital, TAM International, Camsco and National Cardiovascular Partners... just to name a few.

So why did you decide to start Brand Tackle?
» I’ve wanted to do it for years, but I never had the guts. After watching a generation of marketers scramble for the same clients over the years (and try to keep their heads above water during the recession that started in 2009), I thought I’d throw my hat into the ring. I saw too many people working for awards and money – and not for the client. Truth is, if you take care of the clients, the money thing will take care of itself. Plus, I wanted to create the kind of company I wanted to work for. It just made sense.

What do you do when you’re not working?
» I have a great wife and four amazing kids. Or maybe I should say an amazing wife and four great kids… Either way, spending time with my family is number one on my favorite things to do. Whether we’re fishing, playing sports, or just hanging out… they are my favorite pastime. I also enjoy dropping my kayak in the bay as often as possible. Almost nothing beats the feeling of being so close to the water and pulling out a monster redfish.

What’s your advice for someone just starting out in the business?
» Be prepared to work hard, ask a lot of questions and really listen to the answers. And never forget to fight for the work. Your clients will respect you for it.

Do you think Houston is a good advertising town?
» Definitely. There are a bunch of great agencies in Houston. Probably three or four I’d call if I was a client. In fact, I’d put the work that’s coming out of Houston against a lot of the national players. I’m proud to call Houston home and I’m glad to work in such a healthy market with talented people. I’ve had a number of great mentors in Houston – and I’m lucky they spent the time teaching me the ropes over the years.

Freshwater or saltwater?
» That’s tough. I grew up saltwater fishing in West Bay, but later in life started freshwater fishing at Sam Rayburn. I’d have to say saltwater, since you never know what you’re going to catch. And saltwater fish taste much better.  

Biologists hypothesize that the spot on a redfish’s tail evolved to confuse predators into thinking it’s an eye.