Otis Conner is President and CEO of The Axcess Group, one of the oldest and largest commercial production and creative services companies at work in America today.
Axcess professionals have written and produced award-winning advertising campaigns for a remarkable roster of clients, including McDonald’s, AT&T, Ford Motor Company, Pepsi, Sears, Haggar, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Crest Toothpaste, Frito-Lay, Chevrolet, General Electric, Texaco, Smucker’s, Burger King, and many more.
Otis himself has been responsible for celebrated work in virtually every medium records, radio, television, and film doing everything from creating music for such movies as “Reservation Road,” “Life Or Something Like It,” and Academy-Award-winning writer-director Oliver Stone’s “W,” “Talk Radio,” and “Natural Born Killers” to writing, producing, and directing commercials for McDonald’s, Sears, Proctor & Gamble, JCPenney, Lipton, Clairol, and dozens of other major clients.
In the process, he has won innumerable awards for his achievements in advertising, including 25 CLIO awards, the “Oscars” of the advertising industry. He also has won Billboard Magazine’s award for “Best Radio Special Feature of the Year,” The International Radio Festival of New York award for “Best Radio Program,” Broadcast Promotion Marketing Executives Awards for Television Campaigns, and numerous “Addy Governors” awards.
In years past, Otis has been named a member of the Steering Committee for the National Association of Broadcasters, and Parade Magazine selected him as one of the “Twenty-five Most Outstanding Young Businessmen in the United States”.
He has appeared on the nationally syndicated PM Magazine television show, has lectured and performed before the National Association of Broadcasters Convention, and is a popular guest speaker at Ad Leagues throughout the nation and overseas. He is a frequent contributor to trade magazines as guest columnist and industry spokesman and has been quoted in publications as diverse as Newsweek and Advertising Age.
Yet Otis remembers that his salad days in music and video weren’t all champagne and caviar. His career began in the early sixties on the back of a flatbed truck in a grocery store parking lot where The Swingin’ Conner Family first performed. A C&W band formed by Otis and his four siblings, the group was initially sponsored by Bond Bread to tour rodeos and county fairs promoting the brand.
Being asked to play the New York World’s Fair gave the band a unique showcase, and more national exposure came when they performed on Ted Mack’s Original Amateur Hour. Subsequently they went on to appear on bills with The Beach Boys, Sonny and Cher, and The Smothers Brothers, touring all across the nation in the process.
It was during this youthful period as a performer that Otis discovered his remarkable talent for songwriting. His facility with words and effortless ability to create memorable melodies resulted in an outpouring of songs and commercial music that continues to this day.
Yet music is not Otis’s only talent. Today, he is not only a composer/songwriter but also a producer/director whose skill with a camera has resulted in celebrated commercials seen in markets from coast to coast.
Perhaps his proudest achievement, however, is his daughter Lacey Conner. Nationally recognized as the slinky siren of such shows as VH-1’s Rock of Love and Charm School, Lacey also has a flourishing career as a singer/songwriter in her own right. But her diva status didn’t happen by chance. It stems from a musical tradition that is the Conner family’s legacy – a heritage of which Otis Conner remains the primary standard bearer.
Happily married to the lovely Karen – for whom he has penned several songs – Otis is now in a phase of his life when many such high-achieving individuals would contemplate resting on their laurels. Yet his enthusiasm and drive are unabated, his inspiration and creativity are undiminished. And as a result, he continues to be one of the advertising world’s most original and successful practitioners – the one and only Otis Conner.