Hill Holliday Parts With Approximately 5% of Staff Following Dunkin’ Donuts Loss

By Patrick Coffee 

The Boston headquarters of IPG’s Hill Holliday went through a round of layoffs this week following the news that longtime client Dunkin’ Donuts had named BBDO its new agency of record after a review.

Leo Burnett’s Arc Worldwide won in-store marketing in the review, and we hear that the final round pitted LB against BBDO for AOR status.

While we’re told that HH had not been involved in the latter stages of the creative review, its Trilia division is currently defending the media portion of the business along with UM, as first reported by Campaign US earlier this month.


An agency spokesperson confirmed that some staffers had been let go this week but declined to elaborate.

Multiple parties tell us that some 20 people were affected, amounting to approximately 5 percent of the agency’s total staff. While we do not believe the layoffs involved any top creatives or other executives, some account veterans were let go.

Dunkin’ Donuts was with Hill Holliday for nearly 20 years, and some degree of downsizing was expected given that the chain had been one of its biggest clients along with Chili’s, which went to OKRP on a per-project basis last summer.

Sources also tell us that HH is looking to keep operational expenses down; it has long been known as one of IPG’s leaner shops. The agency also went through a round of downsizing in Boston in February.

The agency remains active on the creative front. Over the weekend, it released a campaign for One Boston Day, a group memorializing victims of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. It has also been aggressively seeking new business and surprised some observers by making it to the final round of the recent BMW review.

In unrelated news, agency CEO Karen Kaplan hasn’t quite warmed to Fishbowl, telling Campaign that she feels like a principal eavesdropping on her students while using the app.