Donovan Moves to Overdrive

Michael Donovan and three employees of the eponymous shop he shuttered last year have joined Overdrive Interactive, which is being relaunched as Overdrive Marketing Communications.

Donovan, along with creative services director Mark Minter, design director Pam Leary and operations director Scott Bull, had collaborated as Metaphor Marketing Communications since the Water town, Mass.-based Donovan Group closed in September 2001.

Those four now join Overdrive, also in Watertown, in an effort to help the company expand beyond its interactive roots as a more well-rounded marketing-services shop.

“We may be in an advertising recession, but we’re certainly not in a marketing-services recession right now,” said Donovan, who will share the title of managing partner with Overdrive’s Harry Gold.

In a time of diminished budgets and increased competition, combining forces was the only way to survive and grow long term, the agency principals said.

The shop now claims approximately $10 million in billings. It has a full-time workforce of 10, with plans to add five more staffers by year’s end. Offerings include search-engine optimization, e-mail marketing, and Web site design and development, in addition to traditional advertising services such as print and broadcast creative.

“Clients can now get everything under one roof,” said Jim Joyal, president of Watertown public-relations shop Sterling Hager, which will partner with Overdrive on various projects.

“Their technology and approach allow our audience to go deeper and learn more than what they would read in an ad,” said Neil Gordon, executive vice president and chief operating officer at Boston’s Children’s Museum, which recently tapped Overdrive to develop an e-newsletter promoting its educational and community initiatives.

Donovan and Gold were introduced last summer by the Boston Idea Group, the New England marketing-industry trade group, after Donovan in quired about Overdrive’s work on the organization’s e-mail news letter.

Metaphor and Overdrive worked on several assignments together over the past few months, including an e-mail alert campaign promoting the National Fire Protection Assoc iation. “The strategic-partnership conversation quickly turned to talks of merging,” Donovan said.

Donovan brings Smart Sensor Technologies and Graphisoft to Overdrive, which also works for Legal Sea Foods and Datum.