Hill, Holliday Launches First Work for Silicon Graphics

Shop to take new approach to tech market after losing 2 accounts, one to former staffers

Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, here, launches a print campaign this week for Silicon Graphics, an early-2003 new-business win that only partially offsets the loss of two of the shop’s biggest technology clients.

One of those clients, Veritas, is expected to give the creative portion of its $20 million business to startup Godfrey Q & Partners, formed last month by two ex-Hill, Holliday execs, sources said. Hill, Holliday is slated to defend the media portion in a review.

Last month, Sybase, which spent $4 million last year on ads, dropped the shop after deciding not to run print ads this year. Also, Red Roof Inns moved its $20 million duties in February to The Richards Group, Boston, which had the account before Hill, Holliday won it in 2001.

Hill, Holliday’s January win of SGI’s $5-10 million creative and media duties leaves the office with about $100 million in billings from clients such as Beringer Blass Wine Estates, Motorola SPS, Quantum and Togo’s Eateries.

Print ads for SGI, a Mountain View, Calif., maker of servers, workstations and other products, break in May and June computing and life-sciences books. The work is tagged, “The source of innovation and discovery.”

“We want to use the fact that SGI’s technology enables the most significant and creative breakthroughs in science,” said Justin Acuff, shop account supervisor.

Sources estimated billings for the account at $5-10 million. CMR lists no ad spend for SGI for the past two years, but the client spent $5 million in 2000 and $10 million in 1999. Its last agency was McCann-Erickson, San Francisco.

Hill, Holliday president John Geoghegan said the shop must take a new approach to the evolving tech market. “We’re changing the way we look at how we market tech products,” he said. “No technology company wants to spend a lot of money in marketing when the market is depressed. … We put this relationship together as a beta test for marketing a major technology company without providing the same old, same old.”

Getting away from the “same old,” is the reason former Hill, Holiday svps Patrick Godfrey and Brian Quennel gave for starting Godfrey Q. Fred Goldberg, whose Goldberg, Moser, O’Neill became Hill, Holliday’s San Francisco office when he retired in 2000, is chairman of the new agency’s advisory board.

Some San Francisco ad execs questioned Godfrey and Quennel’s ethics in nabbing the Veritas account from their former shop.

Godfrey defended his agency. “We launched this agency without a single client,” Godfrey said. “But we had a lot of faith in our abilities and in the relationships we built cumulatively. We were sure it would end up that these relationships would bear some fruit. If that happens, great. We need to pay our mortgage too.”