A view from Claire Beale, claire.beale@haymarket.com

Editor's Perspective: Why Fallon's shake-up could be good all round

Journalists like to see patterns and symmetries in events, twisting messy reality into a neat story.

So it would be satisfying to draw parallels between the history of Saatchi & Saatchi and the breakaway unveiled this week from its sister agency Fallon. Thankfully, the reality of Laurence Green and Richard Flintham's departure in the week Saatchis celebrates its 40th anniversary refuses to fit neatly into this narrative.

Yes, they are leaving after a bad run at Fallon last year (although the agency is clearly focused on putting the disappointments of 2009 behind it). But the Fallon crew go with a refreshing amount of goodwill from their former colleagues.

And they're certainly not leaving Fallon in the sort of chaos that prevailed at Saatchis after the departure of Maurice and Charles.

Nor is this an advertising market where the Fallon breakaway will simply aim to recreate the agency they've left, as M&C Saatchi did back in the 90s. Whatever Green and Flintham come up with, it won't be an advertising agency in the image of the one they co-founded in 1998. And their choice of Phil Rumbol, the former Cadbury marketing chief and a man who has bought some of the best advertising of the past few years, is early proof of this.

But Fallon is ready for change, and must change. It's no good looking back to its heady successes and wondering where the magic went. It's time for a different iteration of Fallon. And, perhaps, a different definition of success at the agency, albeit one that must still have creative brilliance at its heart. The new shape of the creative department without Flintham will be key.

The formidable Robert Senior represents continuity - Fallon is in his blood - but he seems in no doubt of the need to empower the well-respected Gail Gallie and the new management team to take all the things that made Fallon great and build a new definition of the agency: just the process that Saatchis has been forced through.

Meanwhile, a re-energised and enthused Green and Flintham, focused on a new type of advertising company ("We're calling ourselves a creative company, not an advertising agency," Green says), should give the whole market a nudge. God knows the industry needs a challenging, innovative start-up that can help set a new agenda.

Because - wonderful as it is to celebrate 40 decades of a British-born iconic advertising agency brand such as Saatchis - in order to best serve 21st-century clients, you wouldn't, as the saying goes, start from here.Liberated from the constraints of a holding company parent and group structure and with the chance to start with a blank screen, it will be interesting to see what Green and Flintham - undoubtedly two of the best practitioners of their generation - come up with.

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