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How Do You Top This?

Patrick Hadley ’90 has made a living astonishing people. 

Crashed Prius

Patrick Hadley’s company set up crashed Priuses in London, Times Square, Berlin, and Hollywood (pictured) to promote the television series The Grand Tour

Photo by
Randy Shropshire

For 20 years, Patrick Hadley ’90 made a living astonishing people. He and his company were the brains behind Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim traveling 15-room Fun House, which boasted a kaleidoscopic hallway and “spasm chasm.” His company sent hundreds of actors dressed all in white across New York City to wish people a perfect day on behalf of the miniseries Childhood’s End. He’s built a pie-in-the-face launcher and a cardboard city and dressed people as pistachios, sharks, and trolls for publicity events.

Hadley, a hospitality and tourism alumnus from Methuen, Massachusetts, pulled off these stunts as founder and president of the Southern California-based experiential marketing and media company Hadley Media. His clients included FOX, FX, TBS, TNT, Levi’s, PBS, and American Eagle, and his creative and crazy events drew crowds at Comic-Con, Cannes, and Coachella.

“Consumers have seen a lot, and it’s harder and harder to get their attention,” Hadley says. “Our business is a little bit of engineering and a lot of creativity and execution. I love the creative process; I get to think like a kid and try new things.”

Hadley sold his company earlier this year. Now he is envisioning what he’ll do after he helps see the ownership transition through. He checked in with UMass magazine while driving from San Diego to Los Angeles in a Volvo XC60—his most boring car, he says. (His five others, among them a 1963 T-bird and a 1957 BMW Isetta, better fit his fun-seeking disposition.)

Merging onto the 405 freeway, he said, “I never wanted to go through life in a narrow lane. Whatever I do, it will be entrepreneurial and exciting. I’m open; I’m available. Tell your readers to send me their business plans. I mean it. Really. I want to build something big that has a positive effect on people’s lives.” 

You can reach Patrick Hadley through his blog, inkandairwaves.com. He means it. Really.