Spirits Are High At Hill

Boston Shop Wins Dunkin’ Donuts, 2 Others
BOSTON–The buzz inside Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos last week wasn’t just from the caffeine.
Momentum was on the agency’s side as it won the creative and media planning assignments for Dunkin’ Donuts USA in Randolph, Mass., landed a sizable direct marketing account from First Union Corp. in Charlotte, N.C., and was tapped to redesign British Airways’ sales collateral in the U.S. The assignments add upward of $70 million in billings to the Boston-based agency’s coffers.
The Dunkin’ Donuts media buying account has still not been assigned. According to sources, Hill, Holliday is pitching that piece of the business against the incumbent, VSM Media in New York. Eddie Binder, vice president of marketing at Dunkin’ Donuts, could not be reached for comment at press time. A decision is expected later this month.
“We [won Dunkin’ Donuts] the old-fashioned way . . . We really did the homework,” said Hill, Holliday president and chief creative officer Fred Bertino, who oversaw the pitch.
Hill, Holliday staffers went so far as to don Dunkin’ Donuts uniforms and go to work behind the counter at one of the chain’s locations, where they poured coffee and sold doughnuts to customers. Their experiences were videotaped for part of the shop’s creative presentation.
The Dunkin’ Donuts pitch created “a huge upheaval of energy” inside the agency, which worked into the morning hours the weekend before the pitch, said Hill, Holliday creative director Mike Sheehan. “It’s the first time in a long time that I remember having people work at 4 a.m. on a Saturday,” said Sheehan.
In addition to Bertino and Sheehan, the creative team consisted of design director Bob Casper; art directors Dave Gardiner, Chris Poulin, Tim Foley, Kristen Watters and Aryn Anderson; and copywriters George Goetz, Marty Donahue, Paul Schauder and John Hart. Executive vice president Leslie Kaplan will run the Dunkin’ Donuts account.
The creative and media planning assignment to Hill, Holliday capped a review in which the only other competitor was Deutsch in New York. That shop was thought to have an edge because its Santa Monica, Calif., office works for Baskin-Robbins, a unit of London-based Allied-Domecq, which owns Dunkin’ Donuts.
Hill, Holliday and Deutsch were invited to pitch the Dunkin’ Donuts account just six weeks ago, after the client broke off a three-year relationship with Messner Vetere Berger McNamee Schmetterer/Euro RSCG in New York.
Both contenders were asked to position the brand and products for the fall and winter holiday seasons with advertising, point-of-purchase executions and sales collateral materials. Hill, Holliday’s winning presentation focused on building repeat customers rather than driving new, occasional customers into outlets. Presentations ran the gamut from employee T-shirts, billboards, television and internal communications to franchisees, said industry sources.
Whether the speculative work that Hill, Holliday presented will be executed still needs to be discussed, Bertino said. In the meantime, work created by Messner sporting the “Something fresh is always brewin’ here” tagline will continue to run until fall, when Hill, Holliday’s first work is expected to break.
Dunkin’ Donuts stands out among Hill, Holliday’s more recent new business gains, which have come from the high-tech, financial services and healthcare industries. “It’s big. It’s visible. It’s a great creative opportunity and great brand,” said Bertino.