Client of the Week: Orange chief takes command - John Tylee on why Robert Fallow is not afraid to take a hard line with agencies

The tank gunner-turned-marketer, Robert Fallow, has never been one to shrink from the flying flak in the battle of wills between client and agency.

The tank gunner-turned-marketer, Robert Fallow, has never been one

to shrink from the flying flak in the battle of wills between client and

agency.



As the marketing director of Orange, the mobile phone operator, and,

until five months ago, the UK marketing chief for Reebok, he recalls

lively confrontations with Lowe Howard-Spink and WCRS, both of which

ended with honours even and respect shared.



’What I like about both agencies is their commitment to quality,’ he

says. ’If they think something is crap they won’t do it. But what

battles I’ve had with these guys.’



Quality is something Fallow, a 38-year-old Glaswegian and one-time Royal

Scots Dragoon guardsman, talks about a lot. It is his driving force and

has propelled his speedy progression from Macro shelf-stacker in 1978 to

architect of Orange’s new three-month pounds 15 million TV campaign,

which breaks nationally on Sunday through WCRS.



The advertising aims to establish Orange as a brand tailor-made for

individual needs and present it as a value-for-money offering in a

price-led market.



Fallow sees obvious parallels between Reebok, where his final task was

to oversee development of the ’doppelganger’ commercial, and Orange.

Both are locked in life-or-death struggles with rivals. But Reebok is

driven by product sales, Orange by the need to generate ongoing

revenue.



Orange, though, with its growing market and new long-term strategy, is

now the vehicle for Fallow’s restless ambition. ’I’m not just here to

maintain the business,’ he insists. ’I love doing things people say

can’t be done.’



Not surprisingly, he has immersed himself in the creative development of

the five new films about to go on air, working closely with the WCRS

joint creative directors, Larry Barker and Rooney Carruthers.



’They never take themselves too seriously, yet they always want to

produce the best work in the world,’ he says. ’But the best thing about

them is that they match my standards of quality.’



’It would be too easy to say the brand has been built and to do nothing.

I love doing things people say can’t be done.’