Holley Marks 40th Year at Buntin

JFK was president and Elvis was starring in Kid Galahad when Bill Holley signed on with Buntin & Associates.

Forty years later, when creatives readily change shops, Holley is still at the Nashville, Tenn., agency, now The Buntin Group.

“Time gets away from you,” said Holley, 62. “The reason I’m still here is fairly simple. I loved what I was doing—and still do.”

Holley was 22 when art director Tom Buntin hired him as a paste-up artist. Tom, one of three generations of Buntins involved in the business, left the agency almost immediately.

“I was this green kid who didn’t know anything left holding the fort,” Holley said. “I called all our suppliers—printers, engravers, typesetters—and told them, ‘I don’t know what the hell I’m doing.’ Without exception, those people trained me.”

It was a simpler time. “I’d stick the artwork under my arm, walk down the street, ask the engraver, ‘How do you want me to do this?’ ” Holley said.

He honed his design skills reading CA and scanning The One Show winners. A freelance job he did for what at the time was an “outhouse, Dogpatch, Southern” company grew into the logo and look for Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, and a new client for Buntin. Holley’s design still appears on more than 1400 billboards and 456 restaurants around the U.S.

Over the years, he has worked on hundreds of accounts. “Bill is one of the fastest get-it-done art directors in the world,” said president Jeffrey Buntin. “Give him 24 hours, he could introduce General Motors cars.”