Hill, Holliday Lands Priceline

Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos mobilized both its New York and Boston offices to win Priceline.com’s estimated $15 million ad account last week, sources said.
Agency president Fred Bertino and executive vice president June Blocklin led the team that beat three New York shops: Cliff Freeman and Partners; Merkley Newman Harty; and Wieden & Kennedy. Hill, Holliday executives would not comment; executives at Priceline in Stamford, Conn., did not return calls.
Priceline marks the agency’s second account victory since November, when June Blocklin was put in charge of business development. The former Young & Rubicam executive was charged with “reigniting” Hill, Holliday’s new-business team and improving its record in pitches. Within weeks of her arrival, the shop landed an estimated $15 million branding assignment for CNN, owned by Turner Broadcasting in Atlanta.
But more recently, Hill, Holliday has stumbled, losing in the final round of reviews for the California Automobile Association, Progressive Insurance and Fidelity Investments and failing to advance in contests for Brink’s Home Security, Toysmart.com, Wenner Media and EMC Corp.
The Priceline account was said by sources to be an all-out effort involving Hill, Holliday presidents Fred Bertino (Boston) and Chuck Kushell (New York), creative director David Wecal (New York), copywriter Larry Goldstein (New York) and others.
A primary objective of the review process was to simulate a real working relationship with each of the finalists and arrive at a strategy that potentially would serve as the launch pad for advertising.
Priceline, formerly handled by Heater Advertising in Boston, was introduced mostly in print and radio executions featuring actor and Priceline investor William Shatner. It is expected that Shatner will continue to play a role in advertising.