Billings rose 17% to $426 million; revenues increased 25% to $58 million. Notable wins include Volkswagen, Izod/Gant and Liz Claiborne cosmetics and fragrances. Absorbed Shawmut billings from Fleet. Digital and Kinney losses–just $7 million.
As always, an underrated product. The VW campaign may help change that perception. Blue Cross was intelligent and Video Guide was retro, fun and right on.
Best run agency around. Top-notch senior executives deliver on Ed Eskandarian”s ambitious but measured plans.
Volkswagen gives the agency an opportunity to prove itself. The challenge: manage growth while honing creative product.
Billings rose 11% to $32 million; revenues increased 11% to $5 million. New clients include Boston Edison, Colonial Mutual Funds, Millipore and Wendy”s.
Cider Jack”s “Caesar” ruled radio. Eastpak”s skeletal magazine spreads were striking. A small shop with big ideas.
Chairman Terry Clarke recovered
nicely from messy 1994 split with
president Bill Matteson. The next generation–creative director Jonathan Plazonja and account services director Mike Norton–breathed new life into agency.
New clients, smart creative–what”s not to like? Respectable growth, but still no sign that breaking from the mid-size ranks is possible.
Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos
Billings increased 18% to $351 million; revenues rose 18% to $53 million. Significant gains from Advanced Micro Devices, Sony and AT&T Global Info Systems.
Sony and Lotus print excelled; pedestrian work for Bank of Boston and Marshalls. Reebok Golf”s “Rain” a standout. Boston Ballet, usually a showcase, disappointing.
The “communications consultancy” that Jack Connors now commands came alive in 1995.
The “vision thing” consumed scads of attention in 1995 but early signs point to big payoffs in 1996. Jack is back. Again.
Houston Herstek Favat
Billings rose 56% to $180 million; revenues up 56% to $27 million. Most of the increase realized from a year of Shawmut spending (before the account split) and media dollars from NEC. Despite rosy numbers, new business wins were way off, with Bertucci”s the best of the lot.
Anti-smoking ads are among the best work ever from this region. Other creative work was underwhelming. Next Converse campaign could make or break the agency”s relationship with the client.
Resignation of Rick Sandler and Jane Rinzler and turnover in creative department were signs of unrest.
High-flying Agency of the Year for 1994 seemed to come back to earth in 1995.
Ingalls, Quinn & Johnson
Billings rose 5% to $108 million; revenues increased 7% to $14 million. Fresh spending by T.J. Maxx and The Boston Globe. Bertucci”s account won and lost. Enron loss stripped $7 million from shop.
Steady improvement and talent bailout was curbed. T.J. Maxx and Amana were respectable. We liked Bertucci”s creative–the client did not.
Ten years of almost constant churn finally gave way to signs of management cohesion. Senior hires in public relations, direct and creative departments should pay off.
New management has inspired shop to be stronger than ever. A vast improvement.
Keiler & Co.
Billings declined 15% to $51 million; revenues dipped 15% to $7 million. Losses precipitated by a huge decrease in Konica spending. Wins included Tenneco, St. Vincent”s Hospital and Simplex Time Recorder.
An embarrassing TV effort for Konica offset by solid print work for Tenneco and Loral Globalstar.
Integration may live in Farmington but the ad business is way off. Research and design are growing.
Keiler has long been a leader in the mid-size ranks in Connecticut. While it remains so, the precipitous decline could be a much needed wake up call.
Marquardt & Roche
Billings up 4% to $37 million; revenues up 3% to $5 million. No account losses, and new business from Prudential Asset Management, Fuji Medical and IBM.
Mostly business-to-business advertising that seems stopped in time, disregarding stylistic changes of the last two decades.
A smooth and well-planned transition after retirement of founders Jim
Marquardt and Ed Roche.
A sturdy, middle of the road business-to-business agency that appears to lack inspiration.
Mason & Madison
Billings up 21% to $35 million; revenues up 22% to $5 million after a new business run that included Yale Health Plan, SAS, Delphi Automotive and Comcast. A pair of small account losses added up to less than $1 million, while new accounts contributed a $6 million gain.
Inconsistent at best. Humor helped Comcast TV, and overall print art direction was strong. But nothing really shined.
Good growth for this steady player. Charles Mason and Harry Viens run a tight ship.
Caught between a rock and a hard place: a business-to-business agency that aspires to do more consumer advertising from its perch in southern Connecticut.
Billings increased 2% to $46 million; revenues rose 17% to $8 million. New billings from General Electric, PRI Automation and Roces helped. Some Marriott work departed, as did Osram Sylvania and Salem Five Cents Savings Bank.
Mediocrity across the board. A Roces ad with lots of Gen-X attitude neglects to indicate the company makes in-line skates.
Loss of several Marriott properties and the Bostik account at the close of 1995 should challenge the Brothers McDougall throughout 1996.
McDougall has always marched to its own beat but erosion of industrial client base has slowed that tempo considerably.
Mintz & Hoke
Billings up 10% to $60 million; revenues climbed 10% to $9 million. The agency”s big wins include Ames Department Stores.
Ames TV was tops; Edwards spots shined. Newspaper work was disappointing, a minus for this usually strong print agency.
Finally unloading the Boston office helped improve the bottom line. The agency also devised clever ways to promote itself as Connecticut”s economic doldrums persist.
In its 25th year, and still the brightest spot in Hartford.
Billings down 11% to $136 million; revenues decline 11% to $20 million. Loss of BMW and Timberland bruised the bottom line. Winning BayBank, Outdoor Life/Speedvision and other clients softened blow–but not enough.
Best effort may have been for the Little Tree Co. Campaigns for Paddington and BayBank held their own. Veryfine was a bore. Overall, a fall from grace.
Mullen”s senior team had 14 good years but seemed beaten down in 1995, a particularly troublesome year. Key account losses and staff departures rocked the agency.
Once recognized as creative standard bearer, Mullen needs to rebuild creative reputation among national advertisers.
North Castle Partners
Billings up 18% to $151 million; revenues increased 16% to $18 million, on the strength of Days Inn, People”s Bank, Star Market and Filene”s Basement wins and more spending from Goodmark Foods, Ocean Spray and Arnold bread.
Print was surprisingly weak. TV work, especially for Star Market, was more inspired. We vote for Macho Man”s retirement from Slim Jim.
Can”t argue with $30 million in new business and a bustling Boston office under Shef Halsey. Readoption of North Castle name was smart.
A second office in Boston was a wise move after all, and the agency”s profile is on the rise.
Copyright ASM Communications, Inc. (1996) ALL RIGHTS RESERVED