PLAYER PROFILE: Rainmaker Pavlika directs Margeotes Fertitta division

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When she arrived in New York six months after graduating from college, Holly Pavlika planned to be a professional sculptor. Her artistic career took a different turn when she snagged a $175-a-week apprenticeship at sales promotion agency Sukon Group soon after arriving in the Big Apple.

What followed was 20-plus years in direct marketing first as creative director, then overseeing direct shops, with Ms. Pavlika promising herself she would quit work when she turned 40 to begin sculpting full time. Instead, at age 44, she's added her name to the door of yet another direct agency as president of Margeotes/Fertitta & Pavlika.

The Sukon position led to one at McCann Direct, New York, where Ms. Pavlika was group creative director starting in 1984. Three years later, she left for direct shop Fox Martin Marshal Jacomy & Mitchell Direct, which later became Fox Pavlika & Partners. That shop was bought by Lowe two years ago and merged with Ammirati Puris Lintas' APL Direct in late February. It's from there that Ms. Pavlika joins Margeotes, a shop she's familiar with from working together on the agency's Media One account when she was at Fox Pavlika.


"I immediately felt she had a tremendous sense of energy and drive," George Fertitta said, recalling that early work with her. "What I liked most is she cut right to the chase and wanted to know what the needs were. She asked a million questions a minute."

Mr. Fertitta said he was overjoyed when he heard Ms. Pavlika was leaving Lowe. He decided to hire her without phoning a reference and didn't debate whether to put her name on the door of its direct divison. "George expects my name to bring in a lot of new business," Ms. Pavlika said with a laugh.

In the past four years, Margeotes/Fertitta has built up its direct marketing arm with $30 million in billings that now include DealTime,, the National Football League, and Mr. Fertitta said he wouldn't be surprised if the newly named division picks up $4 million to $5 million in direct business this year alone.


"The day she arrived, [Ms. Pavlika] took a look at some of the work we were doing for some of our new clients, and with her very skillful eye was able to enhance the direct component on the commercials," Mr. Fertitta said. "She has that great sensitivity to be sure you have a real call to action and at the same time are not denigrating the message."

Ms. Pavlika said she's excited by the camaraderie and entrepreneurial spirit within her new agency.

"I've never worked with an agency that has so many new-business opportunities that are coming their way. They have a really good reputation, which was what I was looking for in the next place. Somebody that was creative and would allow me to fly."

Former colleagues at Lowe have e-mailed since her departure that they miss her baked goods -- often the result of late-night brainstorming at home. It's that creative brainstorming -- and possibly even late-night baking -- that keeps the mother of two's direct work from meeting what she calls a "cookie-cutter standard."

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