The year 2000 saw the communications industry in New England, and the nation, in a period of transition. The dot-com craze of the late 1990s predictably petered out, leaving some agency executives to scratch their heads over unpaid bills and dwindling rosters. Web-savvy shops, many formed specifically to provide interactive services, were perhaps hit hardest of all, with layoffs and office closings taking place at an alarming rate.
The region's key players—Arnold Worldwide, Digitas, Mullen and Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos—were all buffeted by these currents and made significant moves designed to ensure their long-term survival. Some of the region's mid-sized and smaller shops, however, suffered hurtful losses. Then there was Modernista!, which repeatedly made headlines in its first year, establishing itself as the most precocious agency startup in recent memory.