Harpell/Martins to Broaden Scope, Taps Abend for a Top Creative Post

Seeking to enhance its modest creative reputation and position itself as more of a full-service agency, Harpell/Martins & Co. has hired award-winning copywriter David Abend as co-creative director.
Although he will not be a partner in the Maynard, Mass.-based agency, Abend will share responsibility for the eight-person creative department with Fred Martins, the shop’s long-time creative director.
“David’s wealth of consumer experience . . . and his background in the financial service, electronic, footwear, sporting good and hardware markets will be an invaluable asset,” said agency president Pat Harpell.
For the past three years, Abend has run his own small company, Abend Advertising & Communications in Burlington, Mass. During that time, he worked mainly for other agencies, including Arnold Communications in Boston, for whom he crafted the “Bring it on” positioning that helped Arnold win the account of The Hartford insurance company in 1997. He also worked on projects for Boston shops Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos and Holland Mark Martin Edmund, among others He spent about six years working on staff at Arnold and its precursor agencies, crafting campaigns for Fleet Financial Group, The Stanley Works, Foot Joy and Titleist.
Happy with his boutique, Abend said he never anticipated working full-time in an agency setting again. However, when approached by Harpell and Martins with the chance to join a fast-growing technology agency and help it gain credibility in consumer markets, Abend could not resist the opportunity, he said.
“The first thing I told [Harpell] is that I don’t have much high-tech experience,” Abend said. “She said technology is becoming more consumer-oriented, and it is. They’re selling software now on cereal boxes.”
He plans to team with art director Martins on various projects, but “I don’t want it to be that Fred and I work on the best stuff. I’m going to be working with everyone.”
Harpell/Martins has been one of the region’s fastest growing small agencies, posting a 160 percent billings increase to $24 million in 1996 and current billings in excess of $30 million.
The shop last October opened an office in San Jose, Calif., to service Netcom, an online access provider. Other recent wins include United Water in Harrington, N.J., a provider of water consultation services to municipalities nationwide.