Thornhill Returns to Atlanta’s New Media Scene

Matt Thornhill has come roaring out of exile. The interactive marketing veteran, who founded, sold and then managed Exile on Seventh’s Atlanta unit, has been named executive vice president of Abovo Marketing Services.
“Matt brings an incredible amount of Internet experience that is really rare to find,” said Karen See, Abovo’s president and chief executive officer. “Our clients are learning what can work and what pitfalls to avoid.”
Thornhill founded The Martin Agency’s interactive unit in 1994, then moved to Atlanta three years later to become a part of the developing new media market. He started his own agency, Loose Gravel, with Tom Lynch in 1999, then sold it to Exile, the San Francisco interactive powerhouse that counts eBay and Webvan.com among its clients .
Thornhill stayed on for six months, then left, reportedly after clashing over management policy with Exile chief executive officer Michael McMahon [Adweek, July 31].
“I brought them as investors,” said Thornhill, “and they ended up taking it over. I want to be captain of my own boat, or at least have the captain in the boat with me.”
Under See, former director of marketing for KPMG’s Southeast region, Atlanta-based Abovo has grown to $60 million in billings since its 1997 inception. The b-to-b shop added seven new accounts this summer, including Atlanta’s Air2Web and Luxcore, eLabor.com in Los Angeles, and RentOnTheDot in Vancouver, B.C.
“Karen started a full-service marketing communications agency that will do everything from logo design to trade show support,” said Thornhill. “We leverage the concepts we come up with. With most agencies, it’s new project, new blank sheet of paper. That’s great for fluffing-up portfolios, but it ain’t exactly helping the client.”
Thornhill was instrumental in founding the Atlanta Interactive Marketing Association.