By Sarah Jones
BOSTON–With 13 One Show Pencils, seven Hatch gold prizes and two Kelly Award nominations to her credit, Kara Goodrich of Leonard/Monahan is one of the hottest copywriters around.
Agencies across the country have tried to lure her but her response is always the same: Thanks, but Providence, R.I., is just fine for now.
‘To be honest, in the last two to three years I’ve had options to go almost anywhere in the country that I wanted,’ Goodrich said. ‘But as long as I could get the kind of work I wanted here, why would I leave? If I can get good, quality work here, I’ll stay.’
Interesting assignments have crossed Goodrich’s desk since she gave up freelancing to join Leonard/Monahan five years ago. Since then she has worked on award-winning campaigns for such clients as Keds, Bauer in-line skates and Saranac beer. While those clients have left the agency, Leonard/Monahan has replaced most of the billings.
Last year, the shop’s billings rose 40 percent to $38 million, while revenue increased 37 percent to $5.5 million. New clients such as GTech, Garelick Farms and Markem presented fresh creative challenges.
At next month’s Kelly award competition, a print campaign for Polaroid that Goodrich created with art directors Paul Hirsch and Ted Royer will compete against campaigns for Nike, Apple and Dewar’s crafted by Weiden & Kennedy, BBDO West and Leo Burnett. The show is sponsored by the Magazine Publishers Association.
What Leonard/Monahan creative director David Baldwin pinpoints as the key difference is not Goodwin’s style, but the lack of it.
‘A lot of creative people these days have a style; they’re either irreverent hipsters or they write prose. But Kara always writes in the vernacular of the brand,’ Baldwin explained.
Not all of Goodrich’s ideas get applauded, but her flexibility does. ‘She’s very patient and gracious about going back and revisiting another approach,’ said Carol Phelan of Polaroid. ‘She’s such a quiet and unassuming person until she opens her mouth and the world changes,’ she said. ‘It’s amazing. There are no theatrics and huffing and puffing; she’s just thoughtful about trying to find the right solution.’
That approach appears to be Goodrich’s forte. ‘Clients kill things. Clients change things. It’s the reality of this business,’ Baldwin said.
‘But Kara is the master of coming back with something just as good or better. And that is something that she can do better than anybody else,’ he added.
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