Hill, Holliday Awash in Dot.Coms




Carty, Rossi Spearhead Late-Year $50 Mil.-Plus Surge in Billings
BOSTON–A dot.com rush swept Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos during the final days of 1999, leading to a surge in new billings that tops $50 million, according to managing partner Brian Carty. “The revenue potential is substantial,” he said.
The Boston shop, owned by the Interpublic Group of Cos., landed assignments following reviews from Assets2 Auction.com in Charlotte, N.C.; Shoebuy.com of Boston; MortgageIT in New York; and Voter.com of Boston and Washington, D.C.
Characterizing each of the new clients, aside from their need to develop a brand position, is the potential to dominate their respective niches on the Internet, Carty said.
All of the clients are being handled by Hill, Holliday’s relationship marketing division, headed by executive vice president Laurel Rossi. She has helped define a “zero to brand” approach that compresses the development of advertising, which once typically took a shop like Hill, Holliday about a year to complete, to about 15 weeks.
“The Internet world is different. It’s faster, multi-disciplined, so the go-to-market process has to get telescoped,” Rossi said.
Most of the new clients are paying Hill, Holliday in cash, but some “swaps for equity” deals have been arranged. MortgageIT, an online loan facilitator, for instance, is working with Hill, Holliday and a relatively new unit of Western Initiative Media, also owned by Interpublic, called Western Trading in New York, exchanging work for equity, Carty said.
Hill, Holliday can afford to take on about 10-15 companies in a “dot.com portfolio,” most of which will compensate the agency the old fashioned way, with cash, according to Carty.
For Assets2Auction, Hill, Holliday will work with a sister company, Zentropy Partners, to develop the Web site.
A representative of Assets2Auction could not be reached at press time. Shoebuy.com president Scott Savitz confirmed his choice of Hill, Holliday in December following a review. A national branding campaign is expected in April.
Christina Lisi, director of political outreach at Voter.com., said the “balanced partisan, for-profit” organization also chose Brodeur Worldwide in Boston for public relations. Hill, Holliday was selected after a review that included an unnamed political consultant, Bozell Kamstra of Minneapolis and E. James White in Herndon, Va., Lisi said.