Hill Seeks a Creative Infusion

BOSTON Interpublic Group’s Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos is seeking a new leader for the 50-person creative department of its headquarters office here, sources said.

Marty Donohue has held the top slot since January 2002, when he was elevated to executive creative director and executive vice president from svp, group creative director by agency president Mike Sheehan, who had previously overseen creative activities.

Donohue did not return calls, and it is unclear if his title or duties will immediately change. Sources said he is aware the agency is seeking a new creative leader.

An agency representative declined comment.

A copywriter by trade and nine-year agency veteran, Donohue is best known for his work on the $65 million Allied-Domecq Dunkin’ Donuts account, which is one of the agency’s largest pieces of business. Dunkin’ won a 1999 silver Lion at Cannes for “Chase,” a spoof of reality-based TV shows. Donohue also has helmed Hill, Holliday’s Budweiser business. The agency placed Bud spots on the Super Bowl in both 2002 and 2003. The earlier execution was especially memorable, depicting Anheuser-Busch’s Clydesdales saluting New York’s skyline in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. The commercial in 2003 featured a football game played by Clydesdales, refereed by a zebra.

Despite those successes, Hill, Holliday senior management in recent months has become frustrated by the agency’s inability to generate new business, and now looks to hire a seasoned creative director, preferably from the New York market, to jump-start momentum, sources said. The shop came up short in numerous reviews last year, including competitions for AOL Broadband, Jergens, Six Flags, Tylenol and XM Satellite Radio.

Hill, Holliday’s billings and revenue each rose an estimated 5 percent last year to approximately $890 million and $133 million, respectively.

—with David Gianatasio