New Shade of Red for Kelliher

Agency Adds Business, Relaunches Interactive After Banknorth
BOSTON–Undeterred by the departure of signature client Banknorth Group, managers at Kelliher Samets Volk are pointing toward recent wins and the retooling of the shop’s interactive group as signs of better times to come.
“We’re coming through this whole thing and we’re bouncing back,” said managing director Yoram Samets of efforts to regain momentum as Banknorth exits.
A trio of clients have come aboard for a mix of marketing and public relations chores: educational services firm Cognitive Concepts, Evanston, Ill.; kids clothing design company Zutano, Cabot, Vt.; and Niragongo, an Israel-based maker of Web-surfing software.
Cognitive Concepts tapped Kelliher Samets to help tout its Earobics line of reading assistance products “based primarily on their educational experience,” said client official Jesse Finch Gnehm.
All told, the combined accounts are worth several million dollars annually, agency officials said.
Separately, the Bur-lington, Vt., agency has relaunched its interactive practice as Red-Wire, a name Kelliher Samets had used in the 1990s for a creative boutique spinoff that has since been absorbed back into the agency. Rich Nadworny helms Red-Wire. Kelliher Samets also continues to operate SheClicks.com [Adweek, March 6].
The 40-person shop, long one of northern New England’s largest ad agencies, has this year been refocusing on its core strengths–including interactive marketing, the lifestyle/travel niche and education–in anticipation of Bank-north’s departure.
Kelliher Samets worked for Banknorth of Burlington, which had agreed to be acquired by People’s Heritage Financial Group of Portland, Maine. The combined entity adopted the Banknorth name and chose to work solely with Bozell Kamstra in Danvers, Mass., which handled People’s Heritage. The bank deal was recently completed, and Kelliher Samets–which retained some Banknorth chores well into 2000–is now completely off the account.
The loss of Banknorth, which annually spent $7-8 million and had been Kelliher Samets’ largest client, almost assures that revenue will be down for the year at the shop, according to Samets. In some ways, however, thanks to the tighter focus, “We’re a stronger company now than we were a year ago,” and no layoffs are expected, Samets said. K