BOSTON-Bob Cauley’s ride through the ad industry took another turn last week when the former Houston Herstek Favat executive announced that he has opened a full-service agency in Boston.
“We want to be a major player in this market in three years,” Cauley said of his startup shop, called Hawley and Cauley Communications.
Cauley and Shervin Hawley are equal partners in the agency. “We want to grow to be $50-100 million in the next five years or so. We think we can do it,” Cauley said.
The partners believe they can succeed by positioning the shop as a results-driven agency with a strong creative product that is not tethered to any specific niche or category. “We offer smart advertising versus advertising with attitude,” Cauley said.
“We’re strong in health, fitness and technology,” categories the agency plans to mine for new business, Hawley added.
The shop is handling advertising, design and collateral assignments for several clients including consulting firm Arthur D. Little, motorcycle gear supplier Vanson Leathers, weight-loss company Health Management Resources, health and fitness technology company PhysioPlus, and high-tech firms Bay State Computer Group and InfoActiv.
The two men first met when Hawley sought Cauley’s advice on formulating a business plan. Hawley’s former partner, Saul Armian, had decided to leave design shop Hawley and Armian, which the two had run for the past five years.
Cauley, fired last June from his post as treasurer at Houston Herstek, was working as a financial consultant to ad executives. “I wanted to be in a bigger agency setting. Bob and I got together . . . and he shared exactly the same vision I had,” Hawley said.
Cauley oversees the shop’s finances and heads up account service. Hawley serves as creative director.
The agency is looking to ramp up quickly and plans to add to its current staff of 10. The partners are interviewing prospective account service directors and public relations executives. The speed at which staff and services are added will depend on how swiftly new business comes in, but Cauley expects to nearly double the shop’s staffing in the coming months if business prospects pan out, he said.
One industry consultant, speaking on terms of anonymity, said Cauley’s controversial past may hamper the fledgling shop’s ability to compete and may become a distraction in new business pitches, at least in the near term.
Cauley alleged that Houston Herstek fired him because he is gay, and he accused his former employer of improper billing practices on the Massachusetts Department of Travel & Tourism account. He withdrew a complaint lodged against the shop with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination as part of an out-of-court settlement.
“Bob’s background is irrelevant unless it affects my treatment at the agency,” said Karen Lloyd, marketing director of Bay State Computer.
InfoActiv chairman Sam Kannavo concurred, attributing a significant increase in sales in recent months to Hawley’s and Cauley’s efforts.
The agency is currently located at Hawley and Armian’s space at 305 Newbury St. but will move this fall to 31 St. James Ave., where the partners have signed a lease for 5,000 square feet of office space.
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