Leaving Fidelity, Account Manager Will Help Shop Redefine Itself
BOSTON–Jennie Smith Wilson has returned to Heater Advertising as director of account management and new business development.
Shortly after the start of the year, Wilson left the Boston shop for the in-house agency at Fidelity Investments, where her three-month stint as head of account service prompted some introspection.
“I started asking myself: Do I want to be an administrator of a large group of people or at the end of the day walk away with my hands dirty from having done some real work” leading accounts, she said.
She rejoins a firm in transition. Founded in the early 1990s as a creative boutique, Heater’s revenues are now evenly split between consulting and advertising, according to agency chief executive Bill Heater, who employs a staff of 25.
“We’re very consumer-centric. We like to think of ourselves as thoughtful in our approach to advertising, more than just selling creative executions,” Heater said. More often than not, the shop is called to help reposition or define a brand. That’s the nature of its work for Anheuser-Busch, a client since Heater opened its doors.
Still, the agency’s repositioning to a brand consulting model reflects a desire to remain small and nimble. Both Wilson and Heater contend they will never employ more than 40 staffers. “After a certain point, you stop adding intelligence and experience and start adding arms and legs, and that becomes self defeating if you are just trying to feed the beast,” Heater said.
The shop lost some accounts, including Price-line.com which it launched and Reebok International. The footwear maker in Stoughton, Mass., almost a year ago left Heater consolidating its business at New York agency Berlin Cameron & Partners.
Heater’s repositioning, however, hasn’t stopped it from pursuing accounts that call for advertising, such as the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism. At press time, the agency that it had lost that pitch to CGN Marketing & Creative Services, Boston. Heater worked on that pitch with The Media Edge and its interactive affiliate the Digital Edge both of New York. K
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