Mullen Seeks Change of ‘Fortune’

Despite the defections of and L.L. Bean and recent failures in pitches for General Motors’ Hummer and Goldman Sachs, Mullen is pressing forward and no immediate staffing cuts are planned.

The agency has cut back its new hire list, but no layoffs are in store for the 400-person agency, said Joe Grimaldi, chief executive of the Wenham, Mass., shop.

Grimaldi has attributed recent rough going to the ebb and flow of the advertising business and has downplayed the effect losing ($75-90 million) and L.L. Bean ($15-20 million) will have on the shop. “We did win a lot of other business this year and our projections for the overall year are pretty much the same,” said Grimaldi, adding that Mullen took Monster out of its forecast when the account went into review.

Industry watchers say Mullen, at least for the short term, has been wounded. “Losing a [today] is like losing McDonald’s 20 years ago—it’s a big name,” said Bill Montbleau, a consultant in Burlington, Mass.

The shop received encouraging news last week, picking up consolidated ad chores from Fortune magazine, which has worked with Fallon in New York as its lead agency for the past four years. The magazine spent $1.3 million on ads last year. Mullen had already worked on a project for FSB: Fortune Small Business, guiding the magazine through a name change from Your Company and developing the tagline “Small business. Big money.”

Separately, Mullen has advanced in the review for Into Networks’ $2-3 million account, pitching against Duffy & Shanley, Providence, R.I.; FCB Digital of Chicago; and K2 Design, New York. Mullen is also among four semifinalists for the $15 million assignment of Reuters’ Instinet.