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Boston's Hill Holliday : Nissan's New Ad Agency to Open an Office in L.A.

July 02, 1988|BRUCE HOROVITZ | Times Staff Writer

Boston got the business, but Los Angeles gets the jobs.

That's the result of Nissan's selection Friday of a Boston advertising agency to create a $60-million ad campaign for its new luxury car division. The agency already says it plans to open a sizable office in Los Angeles.

Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, the agency that has created computer jargon-filled ads for Wang Laboratories Inc., will take charge of creating an image for the Infiniti division of Carson-based Nissan Motor Corp. USA. The upscale vehicles are scheduled to be sold in the United States beginning in late 1989.

Within the next six months, the Boston shop expects to open a full-service office in Los Angeles, with up to 50 employees, said John M. Connors Jr., president and chief executive of the 20-year-old firm.

Task Is to Create an Image

"We've agreed not to go after any other new business in Los Angeles for our first year," Connors said in a telephone interview Friday. "But after that, we'll see what we can do." Fulfilling that ambition might be tougher than winning the Nissan account; during the past year, the branch offices of several large agencies have closed their doors in Los Angeles after tough competition forced them out.

Connors said he will meet Wednesday with Infiniti division executives to begin developing an ad campaign strategy. Although two executives from the Boston office will temporarily run the Los Angeles office, Connors said he expects to eventually name a Los Angeles-area ad executive to oversee it.

The agency, whose annual billings with the Nissan account will exceed $400 million, has plenty of work ahead. It will be expected to create "an image and a brand identity" for Infiniti, said David F. Hubbard, Infiniti's national advertising manager. And it must do this at the same time that a competing Los Angeles ad firm, Chiat/Day, is still trying to create a U.S. image for the parent company, Nissan.

When Connors got news of the big win Friday morning, he sent his entire agency of 325 people home for a day's vacation. Hill Holliday's jubilation was in sharp contrast with the stinging disappointment at Bloom Cos., the Dallas ad firm that was the only other finalist competing for the business. "We're doing all right," one executive there said late Friday. "Of course, we could be doing better."

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