McKay Fried Continues Expansion




Agency Adds PR Executive, Clients; Former Partner Begins Anew
BOSTON–As McKay Fried Communications adds capabilities and clients in its quest to become a more formidable player in New England, former partner Marvin Fried is hoping to establish a consulting practice after his recent split with the shop [Adweek, Sept. 7].
John McKay, president of the 35-person Boston-based agency, said chief creative officer Fried “was relieved of his duties,” but he hesitated to use the term “fired.” Both McKay and Fried described the breakup as a mostly “amicable” decision that was best for both parties.
In recent months, McKay Fried has added New York agency veteran Frank Mainero as president of its 20-person advertising division and formed an interactive unit in an effort to become what McKay has called a “brand-building agency” offering integrated marketing solutions under one roof.
Fried cited this shift in focus as a key reason he and McKay parted ways. “As we moved forward, I knew I wasn’t going to be happy,” he said.
Since early 1995 when Fried joined McKay as a minority partner in a startup venture in Quincy, Mass., “we’ve been building an ad agency,” Fried said. “Recently, it’s become more of a communications firm. I felt the agency side had become diluted. I was not enjoying it as much as I had hoped.”
Differences of opinion between Fried and other managers about the shop’s change in direction, and operations issues in general, brought matters to a head, with McKay asking for Fried’s resignation, sources said.
Copywriter Rob Murray has been promoted to creative director and is seeking a senior art director to serve as his partner.
Fried, an art director by trade, will work from his home in Needham, Mass., in a “virtual agency” dubbed Fried Advertising, he said. Fried hopes to include a mix strategic consulting and creative projects.
McKay Fried last week absorbed TurnStyles Public Relations, a Boston shop formed nearly four years ago by Colleen Turner, who was most recently its only employee. Turner has joined McKay Fried’s public relations group as director of account services. She reports to managing partner Joe Burnieika and brings with her several clients, including the Nashoba Valley Winery, Bolton, Mass., and Headwaters, Marblehead, Mass., a developer of book lights and other products.
Turner will also work on projects for the shop’s newest public relations client, Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart. McKay Fried will handle crisis communications as well as community and press relations surrounding the projected openings of some 20 Wal-Marts throughout the Northeast.