Dunkin’ Channeled Boston Globe in Dumping Hill Holliday

Wednesday’s Boston Globe featured this Jon Chesto piece on its first Business page.

Snappy lede: “Hill Holliday no longer runs on Dunkin’.” The Canton-based chain dropped its ad agency of two decades and moved its account to New York shop BBDO Worldwide. “Every now and then you’ve got to look to change things up a bit,” [independent franchise group executive director Ed] Shanahan said.

That statement – and the headline of Chesto’s report – echoes an infamous Globe Business piece from 25 years ago that has stuck with me for a variety of reasons.

Not so amicable, however, was the dustup that the story – and especially the headline – triggered between Globe editor Matt Storin and business editor Steve Bailey, which in turn led to this headline.

Globe selects Edelman to be business editor

Larry Edelman will become business editor of The Boston Globe Jan. 1, replacing Steve Bailey, who has held the post for five years, Matthew V. Storin, the newspaper’s editor, said yesterday.

Bailey, 43, said he chose to take a reporting job in the Business section, where he has been a popular editor and assistant editor for the past 12 years. Storin said Bailey’s “return to a management position in the future would be welcomed by me.”

“We’ve had a great run here,” said Bailey, who joined the newspaper in 1977. “I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished. The Globe gave me a good opportunity, and I appreciate it.”

That piece ran the same morning I was scheduled to meet with Bailey and finalize my deal to write a weekly advertising/media column for the Business section. I was up bright and early and figured I should check that day’s edition of the Globe to be on top of things.


I wasn’t sure what to do at that point, but the Missus, in her infinite wisdom, said, “Just go to the meeting.”

So I did.

In the Globe newsroom, I was told to take a seat: “Mr. Bailey is in a meeting.” A meeting that everyone could hear through the closed door of Storin’s office.

About 20 minutes later Bailey walked up to me and said, “You know I’ve been fired, right?”

I said, “Yeah – is our meeting still on?”

After a moment’s hesitation, Bailey summoned Edelman, who moseyed into Bailey’s office, looked around, and said to no one in particular, “I wonder if my desk will fit in here.”


Bailey laid out the situation and Edelman, to his credit, said “Okay, let’s give it a go for six months.” Not long after I was filing columns like this one.

A story goes with that too.

A couple of weeks after the column ran, I got a call from a radio monitoring service telling me I had been the subject of a segment on that morning’s Howard Stern Show and asking if I’d like a copy of it. I said no thanks – because the Stern show at that time was re-broadcast in Boston every night.

So I tuned in and listened to Stern blowtorch me for the better part of an hour. He had just returned from vacation and was working his way through a clip file that had been assembled in his absence. My Globe column was one of those clips. (Spoiler alert: All his listeners came to know that I did not make as much money as the King of All Media.)

And then – remember, this was pre-Internet – the Sterniacs started calling my business phone in droves to leave messages like “Howard rules, man” and “We’re coming after you, man.”

Which they never did, presumably because they were too stoned, man.

Anyway, I continued to write the Globe column for the next 15 months. I never had occasion to mention Howard Stern again.

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4 Responses to Dunkin’ Channeled Boston Globe in Dumping Hill Holliday

  1. Bob Gardner says:

    “. . . if that’s how people get ratings, you’re going to see a lot more of it.” That’s a prediction that came true.

  2. Lawrence A. Edelman says:

    John – when I saw the Dunkin’ hed on the PDF of the biz page, I was on the T. The past rushed back. I asked myself, should I have the desk rewrite, take out “dump.” I had been told that Bill Taylor objected to the verb — to crass for the Globe — even more than the fact that we had broken the news on HH before the firm had been told. I’ve avoided using that word in that context ever since. But it was close to deadline, I was tired, and I just let it ride. What are the odds the JWH would have the same sensibility as WOT? I thought. Sure enough, a lot has changed.

    • Campaign Outsider says:

      Then again, Larry, 25 years later you’re still there. As Sherlock Holmes said to Dr. Watson in one of the Basil Rathbone movies, “Good old Watson – last constant in a changing universe.”

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