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Hey H2M, what's with the cowboy mural?

May 03, 2019 03:46PM ● By Alyssa McGinnis

It’s a question we’ve been hearing a lot lately, as we’ve started to incorporate the iconic Fargo image into H2M’s branding. It’s a fair question. We didn’t commission the work. We don’t represent the distillery. Heck, the Sunny Brook brand doesn’t even exist today. So, what’s the deal?

The word “icon” gets tossed around much too carelessly these days, but “The Dude” in the Sunny Brook mural on the south side of our building at 320 Fifth Street North has very much become an iconic image of downtown Fargo. H2M has been a proud member of the downtown business district for decades, and the mural has slowly become part of our agency’s identity.

The Sunny Brook mural is a landmark that helps guide our clients to our office, yes, but it’s more than just a locator for H2M. We are kindred spirits, if I may be so bold as to make the obvious play on words. It’s a piece of art that has stood the test of time, including a literal whitewashing. And that’s a story worth telling, as it helps further explain why we’ve built this mural into our brand identity.

Shortly after artist Charles Selberg completed the painting in 1949 at the age of 17, a group of determined pro-temperance activists longing for the days of prohibition whitewashed the mural in an attempt to erase the boozy image from Fargo’s skyline. Unknowingly (and definitely unintentionally), the whitewashing actually preserved the mural until 2003, when the owners of the building gave permission to another local artist, E. Chandler O’Leary, to restore the work to its original scandalous glory. It’s been a hallmark of downtown Fargo ever since.

You see, good work has a way of persevering. It may attract the attention of detractors, but good work produced with passion and precision finds a way to prevail… and that very much rings true to what H2M stands for today. We strive to deliver great work for our clients that cannot be whitewashed away by fleeting trendlines or economic bumps.

Why not put up an actual H2M logo on the building instead? Another fair question. Most brands cling to their logo, and rightfully so. Nike is the swoosh. McDonald’s is the golden arches. Mercedes is the hood ornament. But at H2M, our brand is our personality represented by the good work that we deliver for our clients. We are not a logo, and we aren’t afraid to embrace our unique personality and the creativity that blossoms from it.

“The Dude” flashing his smile over downtown Fargo is as perfect a symbol of H2M’s identity as any logo could be, and we’d love to show you why whenever you get a chance to stop by.