As the founder and principal of Five Mile River Marketing, Lou Killeffer helps companies from the Fortune 500 to venture-backed start-ups look ahead, embrace change and sustain success. A versatile business strategist, his expertise in marketing, branding and innovation has made him a trusted advisor to some of the world’s most enduring businesses and well-regarded brands, including AT&T, Castrol, Citigroup, Fed Ex, Labatt, Nestlé, Nikon, P&G, Sara Lee, Schweppes and UPS.

Five Mile River Marketing is a strategic marketing agency helping companies focus and optimize their efforts for marketplace success through services including defining the value proposition and go-to-market strategy, leadership facilitation and alignment, business and integrated marketing planning, creating a dynamic brand positioning, new product innovation, becoming a consumer-centric organization, and corporate, marketing, and employee communications. Among others, Clients have included: AIGA, Nestlé Waters, Dow Chemical, Hearst Magazines, Nestlé, Nova/WGBH, PanTheryx,  Royal Caribbean, the Sustena Group, Vivaldi Partners, Three Waves Capital and Yamaha.

Killeffer has won Bronze, Silver and Gold EFFIE Awards for advertising effectiveness from the American Marketing Association, and served as a Global EFFIE judge.  He’s former member of the New Business Committee of the American Association of Advertising Agencies, a visiting lecturer with the Advertising Educational Foundation, and served on the Advisory Board of the Global Rights Fund II. He was a member of the Board of Directors of Connecticut Odyssey of the Mind and led the Communications Committee of the Norwalk Education Foundation, a nonprofit providing private investment to public education. He has also served as an editor-at-large with Innovation Excellence, the world’s most popular online innovation community.

Before starting his own firm, he was EVP, managing director, strategy at Sterling Brands, directing new business and client engagements while reorganizing the group for growth before selling the agency to Omnicom. Prior to Sterling, he was chief marketing officer at Merkley+Partners, where he directed business development that doubled the size of the agency behind $450M in new billings. Before Merkley, he was CMO of the Marsh & McLennan-backed internet startup BenefitPort after serving many years as EVP, Managing Director of the Americas at Ammirati Puris Lintas where he was a member of the Chairman’s Advisory Council managing clients generating $120M in billings and $18M in revenue.

He returned to his alma mater as an adjunct professor to teach the capstone advertising campaign course, and then at the request of the University, a new course of his own, “Advertising in the Age of Alexa”, in the UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media. He’s active as an American Marketing Association Mentor through the Triangle AMA and has advised Farmer Foodshare, the agricultural nonprofit increasing access to fresh, local food in Durham and Orange Counties. He most recently served as an advertising expert witness in North Carolina’s suit against e-cigarette giant Juul Labs for their marketing to youth. Ultimately, Juul settled, paid a $40,000,000 penalty, and agreed to change the way it does business in North Carolina.





  • B.A., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill