Nelson Leaves Hill, Holliday To Run Donovan Group’s Creative Division

BOSTON – Jay Nelson today takes over the creative department of Donovan Group in Northborough, Mass.
For the past three years, Nelson has worked as a copywriter at Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, most recently holding the title of vice president and associate creative director. He worked on a variety of accounts at the Boston agency, including Coopers & Lybrand, Fidelity, NEC Technologies and the Franklin Park Zoo.
“A strong creative person can make a big difference in a small place,” said Hill, Holliday creative director Mike Sheehan, who worked with Nelson since his arrival. “Jay’s got the fire and he’ll undoubtedly be a success. We loved having him here. He was a great contributor, but we certainly understand the need to do something different.”
One of Nelson’s most notable accomplishments, according to Sheehan, was creating a 60-second TV spot for the Jimmy Fund. The commercial originally appeared as a two-minute in-theatre ad that features a young cancer patient choosing a barber for the day his hair grows back.
Prior to Hill, Holliday, Nelson spent eight years as vice president and associate creative director at Boston-based Arnold Communications, where he worked on the Franklin Sports, Titleist and Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Massachusetts accounts.
“He’s been there and done that,” Donovan Group president Michael Donovan said of Nelson’s tenure at the two largest New England agencies. “We were looking for a strong creative talent who also could mentor a young creative staff.”
Saying that the time seemed right to make a move, Nelson appeared undaunted by the transition to the 32-person suburban shop. “I think there are going to be some new names in Boston, and I think we can be a part of that,” Nelson said. “Everyone I’ve met [at Donovan Group] is excited about getting on the map.” Nelson said his plans are “to make it great and hopefully make some noise.”
Nelson replaces Larry Buckley, who recently left Donovan Group to freelance. Buckley is still working with the shop on projects, said agency representative Don Goncalves.
Donovan has spent the past few months beefing up his senior management team. Nelson’s appointment is the fourth in as many months, and it will not be the last. A search is under way for someone to helm the agency’s interactive department, Donovan said.
Donovan Group’s client roster includes Markam Corp., Fidelity’s Institutional Retirement Services and Loomis Sayles Funds.