August 30, 2019 / Thought Leadership

Noise starts here: Boston’s Adland

Steve Connelly, President and Copywriter

Times were Boston, and I include Providence here, was one of the creative hubs of the marketing universe. Some of the greatest creative agencies and minds called our corner of the world home. And some of the biggest brands, born in the Northeast and around the world, came to our agencies to get access to those minds. But creative reputations are like gardens, they need constant attention and cultivation.

The responsibility for that cultivation falls to us, the marketing industry of Boston. We need to constantly be out as a unified market talking of what we are doing and what’s possible here. This is a pretty sexy creative beachhead. Flo lives here, JetBlue lands here, Bank of America banks on the talent here, the Gorton’s fisherman was born here.

But we don’t have a voice in the market anymore. The bigger players are responsible to their holding companies, not the talent and potential of Boston. Back then, to be an agency in Boston was to belong to a club of creativity, where every agency spent their days raising the bar for clients and daring their agency friends to keep up. Together we made everyone better, and we unapologetically told the world about it.

Today major local brands like Liberty Mutual, Dunkin’, Mass Mutual, Ocean Spray, TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Homegoods, Gillette, Reebok, even Cumberland Farms leave this market for advertising not because better talent and resources exist outside, but because they THINK better talent and resources exists elsewhere. We have been quiet, disorganized, self interested, rather than seeing and painting the big picture. Boston needs a voice, a voice that reminds and educates about the awesomeness available here. The more we stay quiet and fail to promote our market, the easier it is to see past what’s here and experience wandering eye.

Boston STILL does amazing work that should attract the next generation of great Boston brands like Wayfair, Hubspot and LogMeIn, as well as brands from all over the country. Boston has always been synonymous with independent thinking, with creativity, with being at the front of every innovation. We have never been much for staying quiet. What happened?

Noise starts here. We challenge other voices to follow.

Steve Connelly appeared in the Boston Globe article “Hometown advantage? Not for Boston’s ad agencies”. Learn more about his perspective and the local boston advertising scene.