Boston always had a formidable academic scene, and now it's on the forefront of a tech revolution.
The city's ad scene combines a polished, academic culture with a vibrant, cutting-edge vibe, making Boston a hotbed for innovation and startup creation.
But for all the high-wattage brain power, you can't talk about Boston without discussing the Patriots, the Red Sox, the Celtics or the Bruins. Chris Wallrapp, an exec VP at Hill Holliday, said, "The question is: Which championship parade do you attend?" There's a sense of pride flowing from the ballpark to the conference room and back again. Sapient has its name on a wall in Fenway.
Boston's three agency pillars are Havas' Arnold and Interpublic shops Hill Holliday and Mullen Lowe. Arnold was founded in 1946, Hill Holliday in 1968 and Mullen in 1970. Each agency -- though global in reach -- maintains headquarters in the city. It's not uncommon for execs and creatives to have worked at neighboring agencies, and many said that familiarity creates a stiff but good-natured competition.
"I think what we're united in [is the idea that] the more successful Boston becomes as an ad hub, the more successful each one of us will be," Arnold Global President Pam Hamlin said.
Multiple Boston agencies, including Sapient and Allen & Gerritsen, relayed a similar sentiment: The camaraderie in the ad community is incomparable, and everyone wants to see the city grow.
For instance, Mullen partners with coworking space Workbar. Together, they created Wunderbar, a space for startups to create and build tech under Mullen.
Other Boston agencies include the Barbarian Group, b-to-b player PJA Advertising & Marketing, Partners & Simon and Proverb. There are also outposts for DigitasLBi, Carat and Fleishman-Hillard.