2 Ex-Creative Directors Try The Freelance Life

BOSTON-A pair of seasoned creative executives are reinventing their careers after achieving degrees of success in New England’s midsized agency ranks.
Dana Dolabany and Bob Mariani have embarked on separate ventures. An art director by trade, Dolabany has formed Dolabany Communications Group in Norwell, Mass. He hopes to eventually build the one-man operation into a viable advertising agency. Mariani, working from his home in Rehoboth, Mass., said he is glad to escape the rigors of agency management and company politics. Instead, he hopes to work as a freelance copywriter for various shops and clients, he said.
Dolabany spent more than a decade as creative director of Boston-based Cuneo Sullivan Dolabany, which went belly-up after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the spring. At the time, the agency claimed $125,000 in assets and debts of nearly $2 million, according to court papers. Almost all of its liabilities stemmed from unpaid media fees owed to network TV affiliates [Adweek, June 9].
Although his name was on the door, Dolabany said he held no stock in the agency and has not kept in touch with former partner John Cuneo, who has formed a marketing venture in Boston. Cuneo Sullivan’s demise has taught Dolabany that “the business can change instantly. Be prepared for anything,” he said.
Dolabany is currently working with copywriter Peter Nichols of Boston-based Nichols Creative Enterprises on a TV project for Community Newspaper Co., the publishing arm of Fidelity Investments in Boston. Dolabany’s other assignments include creating videos and brochures for 401(k) offerings from KPMG Peat Marwick and signage for the launch of a specialized Visa card for mall developer WellsPark Group in Newton, Mass.
In contrast, Mariani said he has no desire to build an ad agency from scratch and plans to leverage his experience with healthcare, banking and retail clients into freelance work.
Mariani spent 11 years as creative director of Mariani, Hurley & Chandler in Providence, R.I., before leaving a year ago to become co-creative director at crosstown rival Rivers Doyle Walsh & Co. He was scheduled to meet late last week with his former partners at the renamed Hurley, Chandler & Chaffer about freelance assignments there, he said. w