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The Hare Leaps Ahead

When the big deal finally went down last week between Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos and the Interpublic Group of Cos., a number of industry pundits were chuckling that agency chairman Jack Connors had beaten long-time rival Ed Eskandarian of Arnold Communications to a retirement plan.
In stories chronicling the rise of both ad men, one analogy that has stuck is that of the “The Tortoise and the Hare.” It was first drawn in 1981 by New England Advertising Week editor Charles Jackson when Hill, Holliday’s revenues for the first time were greater than those of Eskandarian’s former shop, Humphrey Browning MacDougall.
The fable was revisited in 1995 after Arnold lumbered past Hill, Holliday by winning the $100 million account of Volkswagen of America.
“I think it was a smart thing for him to do and the right time to do it,” Eskandarian said of Hill, Holliday’s sale to IPG.
Still, just because the hare has an exit strategy in place does not mean there’s pressure on the tortoise to finish the race. “We’ll do what’s good for us, when it’s good for us,” Eskandarian said.
-Judy Warner