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Back in 1980, after spending time at small shops on ignominious accounts, Bill Hillsman landed a job at Bozell & Jacobs, Minneapolis. There, cd Tom McElligott asked Hillsman to help him prove that the better the creative, the less air time would be needed to achieve good results. Weeks later, McElligott, along with vp and art director Nancy Rice, quit to open Fallon McElligott Rice. The headline in their announcement, recalls Hillsman: “Finally, an agency for those who’d rather outsmart than outspend.”
Hillsman’s behind-the-scenes contribution to that statement resulted in regular lunches with McElligott, who, he says with a laugh, “kept asking about people he should hire — and it was never me.”