Agency President to Take Top Brand Post at Client Mauna La’i
BOSTON–At odds with Clarke Goward founder and chairman Terry Clarke over the future of the agency, president Jud Horner last week stepped down for a marketing job at one of the shop’s clients in which he has a financial interest.
Horner, who joined Clarke Goward in 1997 and has worked in account management or new business posts for at least a half dozen agencies in the last 20 years, will become senior vice president of brand development at tropical juice maker Mauna La’i.
Horner will continue to serve Clarke Goward in an advisory capacity, both he and Clarke said. How the agency will replace Horner is being evaluated, Clarke added.
Horner is one of six executives to hold equity in the agency; that stake, not disclosed, will be divested over time.
Horner opted to leave Clarke Goward after his offer to buy out Clarke’s share in the 21-year-old shop was turned down, said sources.
Clarke, 61, said he has no intention of stepping aside and finds himself resenting those who suggest that it is time to retire. “I feel like a kid trapped in a man’s body,” he joked. Clarke continues to explore merger possibilities but said he would prefer to leave the shop to a second generation of management.
Mauna La’i in Braintree, Mass., is an independent spinoff of Ocean Spray Cranberries, which introduced the brand 15 years ago.
“We’re a $22 million brand being run by four people,” said Mauna La’i president Kevin Maguire, who previously held a position in product management at Ocean Spray. “The good thing about Jud is that he’s a ‘roll up his sleeves’ kind of guy who will get the job done. He’s entrepreneurial and energetic by nature.”
While at Kenyon & Eckhardt in the 1980s, Horner helped Maguire launch Mauna La’i. The brand, however, languished under Ocean Spray, which focused more on cranberries and grapefruit products rather than tropical flavors originating from passion fruit, mangos and guava. Horner, Maguire and other investors bought Mauna La’i 18 months ago.
Clarke Goward has recently created radio ads promoting Mauna La’i. The campaign is being tested in two markets and urges consumers to “Taste paradise.”
As for his decision to depart the agency scene, Horner said he could no longer “lift two rocks at the same time.” He had been dividing his time between Clarke Goward and Mauna La’i in recent months.
The agency, which reported billings of nearly $40 million in 1997, closed its books on April 30 with its best financial performance ever, Clarke said.