Peter Nichols has joined the Boston Group as vice president and associate creative director, becoming second in command to managing partner and creative director Brendan Kelley.
Boston Group, which realized an 83 percent jump in billings last year to $35 million, hired Nichols to help Kelley oversee and manage the agency's increasingly busy, nine-person creative department, Nichols said.
"It's about continuity," Nichols said, "so everything doesn't stop [in the creative process] when Brendan goes away [to pitch] new business." Another important task for Nichols is to improve the agency's product and serve as a mentor to less experienced creative staff, he said.
Though Nichols, a copywriter, had never worked directly with Kelley before, he has been freelancing on two of the Boston shop's largest accounts--the American Skiing Co. and New England Funds--for some time. He will continue to work on those assignments.
Nichols most recently was a senior vice president at the former Houston Herstek Favat in Boston, working on campaigns for Fidelity Investments, the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism and the Museum of Science, all in Boston.
Houston Herstek lost both the Fidelity and Massachusetts tourism assignments last year. Nichols was let go in a round of layoffs that followed. The agency was purchased by Arnold Communications in Boston at the beginning of the year.
Prior to Houston Herstek, Nichols spent the better part of 15 years at Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos in Boston, working on campaigns for the Massachusetts Lottery Commission, Spalding Sports Worldwide and Wang Laboratories.
Nichols, who has extensive freelance experience, also has written a humorous novel, The Dog & Pony Show, set in the world of advertising. While seeking a publisher, Nichols turned the book into a screenplay but has so far found no takers in Hollywood.
Boston Group, founded four years ago by Kelley and partner Mary Lou Pritchett, now employs more than 30 staffers. Best known for its direct marketing prowess, the agency recently created an unusual "French gatefold" campaign for New England Funds. The executions incorporate the covers of financial magazines into the client's ad message [Adweek, May 25].