New President Touts Plan for Rapid Growth
BOSTON–McKay Fried Communications is determined to become a big-time player in the New England ad scene. Just ask Frank Mainero, who last week was named president and chief executive officer of the agency’s advertising division and receives a minority stake in the shop.
In tandem with founder and chairman John McKay, Mainero is looking to help boost billings past the $100 million mark in the next three to five years. The Boston-based agency currently bills about $25 million, a 150 percent increase over a year ago.
Their goal may appear lofty, but Mainero and McKay believe a four-fold increase is not out of the question, particularly in light of Mainero’s penchant for agency building in the recent past.
“I think he can do it,” offered Shari Williams, president of Arnold Direct in Boston who has worked with Mainero. “[He is] very focused, a smart, dedicated guy. [He] believes in the power of an agency.”
The 50-something Mainero began his career in the 1970s with J. Walter Thompson in New York, eventually rising to the position of executive vice president. He helped build the shop’s Brouillard Communications division into “a $60 million agency within an agency” in just three years, he said.
Mainero later led JWT offices in both San Francisco and Washington, D.C., and in the 1980s oversaw all operations on the West Coast. During his tenure with JWT, he worked on brand development for various clients, including Schaefer beer, Hilton Hotels, Sprint, Hewlett-Packard, Jacuzzi and Activision. He eventually joined Activision, a maker of videogames in Mountain View, Calif., as senior vice president of marketing.
Mainero most recently served as vice president of North American marketing for Nashua Photo in Nashua, N.H., where he worked to revive the mail-order film developer with Arnold Direct. Mainero left the company in March, when it was bought out by Clark Photo. Arnold and Nashua parted ways when the latter was sold.
Around the same time, Mainero was brought to McKay’s attention by an executive recruiting firm. McKay had been looking for a president for McKay Fried’s advertising unit for about a year. Mainero’s legacy of agency building and experience with national brands put him “way out in front” of about a half-dozen other candidates, McKay said.
The advertising division employs about 20 of the shop’s 30 staffers. The public relations unit is run by Joe Burnieika; McKay leads the brand consulting practice.
McKay Fried is looking to position itself as a “brand-building agency” that relies on research to help clients get results, McKay said.
The agency will pitch any account worth $10 million or less that McKay believes will be a good fit with the shop, which works for a mix of healthcare, biotechnology, financial and packaged-goods clients. Also, he is looking to become active in acquisitions, with a deal to buy a small interactive agency to be announced within the next few weeks, he said.
McKay Fried has been one of the region’s fastest-growing small agencies in recent years. Wins in 1998 include Apropos, an upscale restaurant at the Sheraton Boston Hotel & Towers, and an assignment to develop a brand identity for The Common Market Trading Co., a marketer of imported and domestic food items.
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