Bankboston Moves To Hill, Holliday Mullen Anticipated Change

Client Maintains Decision Was Tough
BOSTON–BankBoston last week withdrew business from Mullen and consolidated its $25 million account at Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos.
Hill, Holliday had handled corporate advertising for Bank of Boston prior to the client’s 1996 buyout of BayBanks and subsequent name change to BankBoston. Mullen, BayBanks’ agency since 1995, hung onto the retail and small-business portion of the account post-merger until last week.
Although the banks legally merged in 1996, BankBoston’s executive director of marketing Karen Green said, “A lot of work was still going on to merge the operating systems and product lines. That was completed later in 1997, and we wanted to have that out of the way and move on from there. Both agencies did great work for us. It was a tough choice.”
According to sources at Hill, Holliday, both shops made presentations for the account.
The decision to consolidate had little to do with the retirement of William Crozier, former president of BayBanks who was said to be a Hill, Holliday detractor dating back to the mid-1980s, when the Boston agency resigned the account to take on a larger competitor.
Asked whether Mullen’s “It’s amazing what you can do” tagline for BankBoston’s Linkage product would survive the transition, Green said only, “I can certainly say you won’t be seeing a lot of changes in the next few weeks.”
However, there may be changes afoot at Mullen should executives decide to begin a search to fill the void. The Wenham, Mass., agency has a long history of banking experience. Past clients include USTrust, for whom it created the well-known “The other billion dollar bank” tagline, and Eastern Bank, which Mullen dropped in 1995 to pursue the BayBank account, estimated then at $10 million.
“We always believed [the account] was going to go to the acquisitioning bank,” said Mullen president Joe Grimaldi. “The fact that we held onto it well after the merger speaks to the fact that we did some tremendous work for them.”–with Judy Warner