Holland Mark’s Hot Flashes

Bill Davis, chairman of Holland Mark Martin Edmund, is looking for a big score that can take his $70 million Boston shop to the next level.
Having grown beyond its direct marketing and database roots to establish a strong presence in the region, Holland Mark executives want to play on the national scene.
Getting there, Davis believes, requires winning a high-profile, $20-30 million consumer account. Doing so has proven difficult, however. The agency was recently bounced from the $27 million Liberty Mutual competition. “There’s the perception that we’re not big enough,” Davis said. “We need to find a client that wants a young agency.”
Five years ago, similarly poised Houston Effler & Partners vaulted into the limelight by luring creative team Pete Favat and Rich Herstek and the $24 million Converse account from crosstown rival Ingalls Advertising. Renamed Houston Herstek Favat, the agency enjoyed a red-hot run before its recent implosion.
“That’s what worries me about being perceived as hot,” Davis said. “Every time I hear that, I think about Houston” and its downfall.
–David Gianatasio