BOSTON – Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos has been placed on notice by Budget Rent a Car, which last year spent roughly $25 million of its estimated $40 million ad budget through the Boston shop. The Lisle, Ill.-based client is now conducting a review of Chicago-area agencies.
The reasons behind Budget’s decision to fire Hill, Holliday appear to have little if any connection to the work the agency has done. Its first brand campaign for the car and truck rental company, themed “Get out of the ordinary,” broke last fall and was cited by Budget as contributing to its first market share gain in more than five years. Television spots urged renters to try out new vehicles, such as a convertible or sporty truck, rather than a standard four-door sedan.
Mark Sotir, senior vice president of marketing at Budget, cited management changes as the reason for the move. “While Hill, Holliday has done an excellent job for Budget, new owners inherited the relationship and would like to look for a local agency that has the capacity to serve other Budget Group companies as we continue to expand and make other acquisitions,” Sotir said.
Budget, which hired Hill, Holliday in January 1997 after a review, is the first significant account loss for Hill, Holliday in months. At another time, the loss of an account this size would most likely have resulted in layoffs, but recent account wins may serve to prevent that.
Most of the staffers who serviced Budget will be reassigned to other accounts within Hill, Holliday, in particular Dunkin’ Donuts, according to agency executives.
“At this time we are openly recruiting for Dunkin’ Donuts,” said agency representative Scott Cheyne. “A number of senior people on Budget will be immediately reassigned to Dunkin’ Donuts.”
The Randolph, Mass.-based client named Hill, Holliday lead agency for both creative development and media planning and buying this spring.