Mullen Boosts Agfa Billings




Wins Interactive Chores, Solidifies Planning Group
BOSTON–Mullen has beefed up its interactive and planning departments, winning a multimillion-dollar assignment from Agfa and attracting two top-notch account planners.
Graceann Bennett, a group planning head at TBWA Chiat/Day in New York, will join Mullen on Feb. 1 as senior vice president. “It’s sort of a coup to get her here,” Nelson said. “She’s the real thing. She’s one of the really great planners who’s worked with great campaigns. People like that are getting harder to find.”
Prior to serving four years at TBWA Chiat/Day, Bennett was at Weiss, Whitten, Stagliano in New York. “I thought I’d never ever leave [New York],” she said. “I always thought I’d have to compromise. I thought the people weren’t going to be as smart, I wasn’t going to work on as good accounts, it wasn’t going to be as exciting–but [Mullen] shattered my perceptions.”
The Wenham, Mass., shop also has named Baysie Wightman vice president and senior brand planner. Wightman spent the past three years at Reebok International in Stoughton, Mass., where she identified trends among women and youths.
Both Bennett and Wightman will report to Ted Nelson, senior vice president and director of planning.
In addition, Mullen’s fledgling interactive division partnered with Ernst & Young in New York and Mainspring Communications in Cambridge, Mass., to grab a global assignment from Agfa.
“Because of the size of the task, we really had to have a global capability,” said Mullen executive vice president Richard Person, who oversees the shop’s interactive and direct units. “We didn’t want to look like an American company but a global organization. We needed to find a partner that was smart, global and could complement Mullen where we didn’t have expertise.”
Ernst & Young will consult on computer and systems integration. Mainspring will establish a global Web steering committee to help Mullen develop a strategy to unify Agfa’s more than 50 Internet sites, set up an e-commerce channel and provide online support to all its divisions.
Person estimated the assignment would take two or three years to complete, during which time he plans to hire upward of 15 staffers, including a chief technology officer and a creative director.
Mullen already handles advertising for Agfa’s prepress and graphics divisions. Representatives at the Morstel, Belgium-based client could not be reached by press time.