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MMG Gets New Creative Chief

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MMG Worldwide, whose billings are up 20 percent with the addition of two clients, has hired a former BBDO executive to run its 30-member creative department.

Ann Hollingworth joins the Kansas City, Mo., agency on Feb. 1 as senior vice president, creative director. She comes from BBDO Toronto, where she was an associate creative director.

The shop conducted a search for a creative leader to replace Brent Niemuth and Laura Crawford Piper, who had jointly run the creative department but left to pursue freelance opportunities, said Clayton Reid, MMG's CEO. Hollingworth stood out for her brand-building experience, Reid said.

"She was so impressive in terms of brand background and the people she's worked with; she was by far the person we wanted," he said. He cited Hollingworth's work with clients such as Hilton Hotels, the Barbados Department of Tourism, Canadian Airlines and a pitch for Celebrity Cruises as important for MMG, which specializes in hospitality and travel clients.

Hollingworth also worked at D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles in Toronto. She said MMG's independence and youth appealed to her.

"They are forward-thinking and young and growing," she said. "They're at a place where they've got the desire to do great creative work."

Hollingworth's appointment comes as the shop begins work for two new clients: Homewood Suites by Hilton and Millennium Hotels and Resorts. Combined annual billings for the two clients are expected to be $18 million, Reid said.

The shop had worked on the Homewood Suites account when it was with former parent Promus Hotels. The shop won the Millennium account after a review, Reid said.

The shop is working on a new campaign for Homewood, expected to break in the spring. A global brand campaign for Millennium Hotels is expected in the fall.

In addition to those two hotel accounts, MMG handles tactical work for Sheraton Hotels. Reid said the accounts aren't in conflict because they each target different consumers.

Though Hollingworth said her decision to join the shop was unrelated to the two account wins, Reid noted her experience will help MMG adjust to the size and global nature of those accounts.

"When a [client] hires us to do work for them, they expect more than we could give them five years ago," Reid said.