CNN to Ship Branding to Boston

Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos here will soon be awarded a $15 million branding assignment from Turner Broadcasting Systems’ CNN in Atlanta following a review, sources said.
At press time last week, the deal was awaiting final approval of top Turner Broadcasting executives and may be announced as soon as this week, sources said.
Hill, Holliday, a unit of the Interpublic Group of Cos. in New York, bested finalists Margeotes/Fertitta + Partners, Saatchi & Saatchi and DiNoto Lee, all in New York, and The Richards Group, Dallas, to win the new assignment. DiNoto Lee handles CNN’s Headline News account and that relationship is not affected by the selection of Hill, Holliday, sources said.
“It’s not a done deal,” cautioned Hill, Holliday representative Eric Fehrnstrom. “We’re still in an internal process” of gaining final approval.
Client officials did not return phone calls last week.
Hill, Holliday is charged with developing an overall brand position for CNN, which has been under increasing pressure from competitors like MSNBC, a joint venture between Microsoft and NBC, and NewsCorp’s Fox News Channel.
Hill, Holliday’s experience with media-related clients includes more than a decade as lead agency for New England’s largest daily newspaper, The Boston Globe, a unit of the New York Times Co.
One source said Hill, Holliday received help on the CNN pitch from freelance art director Don Easdon, who in the 1980s helped create some of the shop’s best-known campaigns. Easdon could not be reached for comment. Fehrnstrom said only Hill, Holliday creative staff worked on the CNN pitch.
The cable TV news service in 1996 awarded a similar branding assignment to Deutsch in New York. That project was said to be worth $20 million, but work never materialized and the client and agency parted ways after a few months. –with Judy Warne