Fleet Seeks Human Face in New Hill, Holliday Work

Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos employs a documentary style to focus on small-business owners’ aspirations in new spots for FleetBoston Financial, part of the shop’s ongoing effort to place a more human face on the banking concern.

The work breaks this week. One 30-second spot takes viewers inside Boston’s Dancing Deer all-natural bakery, which bakes only specially ordered goods. Dancing Deer president Trish Karter says, “We don’t know until noon today what’s going out the door tomorrow.” Meanwhile, the spot shows employees packaging cookies and working at blenders.

“Every small business has its own set of challenges,” says a voiceover, which concludes, “Small-business services from advice, to payroll services, to loans—it’s why more small businesses choose Fleet.”

The other spot features Geoff Brown, general manager of the BlueClaws, a Lakewood, N.J., minor-league baseball team, who says, “When you’re on a team, you have to be all baseball all the time. I’ve got 7,000 custom ers coming through here in five hours.”

The agency’s 2-year-old tagline, “Forward. Thinking,” is retained. The client, one of the largest at Bos ton’s Hill, Holliday, spent $60 million on ads last year, according to CMR.

Fleet came up with the idea for the spots after it chose the Dancing Deer and the BlueClaws for its 2002 Small Business Leadership Award. “They both are great customers, and both have unusual businesses—so Fleet wanted to tell their story,” said Todd Riddle, shop svp, group creative director.

Fleet, the No. 5 banking group in the U.S., has been dogged for several years by bad publicity stemming from issues such as its record on minority lending and the compensation packages of some of its executives. To help soften its image, Fleet placed two star shortstops—the New York Yankees’ Derek Jeter and the Boston Red Sox’s Nomar Garciaparra—in campaigns in each of the past two years.