Nelson Returns to Arnold Fold

After a year of managing retail accounts at Toth Brand Imaging, Paul Nelson has returned to his former employer, Arnold.

As senior vice president/group director at Arnold, Nelson will oversee the Boston agency’s portion of the national American Legacy Foundation anti-smoking account, which Arnold has shared with Crispin Porter + Boguksy since 1999.

American Legacy, budgeted in the $150 million range, is among Arnold’s largest accounts.

Nelson reports to Lisa Unsworth, managing partner and group director at Arnold, and replaces Skip Weldon, who had led the American Legacy account since January 2000. Weldon has left Arnold.

Though Nelson called Toth “a great place to work,” he said he was seeking a new challenge, adding that the prospect of taking on a cause-related campaign played a large role in his decision to return to Arnold. “It presented a new marketing challenge,” Nelson said, citing the campaign’s track record in helping educate the public of the dangers associated with smoking.

Arnold management was “excited to bring him back for American Legacy,” said agency president Fran Kelly. “Not only does he have great client skills, he has excellent creative skills as well.”

Nelson first joined Arnold five years ago and most recently served as vice president/management supervisor on Volkswagen of America. Nelson played a role in developing VW’s Web site. American Legacy has a strong online presence as well—one of the reasons he was brought aboard.

Last year, he left Arnold to join Toth in Concord, Mass., as a group director. He oversaw work for Wrangler, Unionbay, Riders Apparel, Sergio Valente and Orvis, all key pieces of business for Toth.

Nelson’s replacement at Toth has not been named.

“Paul is enthusiastic about the business. He has an enormous amount of respect for the creative process and creative product,” said Toth chief operating officer Dick Emerson. “We miss him as a person and his impact on the organization from a team-building standpoint.”

In addition to its online component, the “Truth” campaign for American Legacy includes TV and radio spots and a promotional tour of several cities that encourages teens to rebel against the marketing efforts of tobacco companies. Most recently, it launched radio spots featuring a teenager who calls Philip Morris to discuss the hazardous substances in cigarettes.