Despite an excellent worldwide reputation and nearly 20 years in
business, Fallon McElligott has struggled to export its idiosyncratic
style to create a successful base outside of its Minneapolis home.
New York has been a particular stumbling block. But last week’s
announcement that Jamie Barrett will join Fallon McElligott New York
City as its creative director is being hailed as the long-awaited signal
that, after more than three years of trying, Fallons finally has the
making of a New York office it can be proud of. Accounts handled there
include Time and Fortune magazines, the financial services company,
Conseco, and Nikon.
The first barrier to expansion out of Minneapolis was extreme caution.
Pat Fallon, the agency’s chairman, admits: ’I am very careful, almost to
the point of being frozen - I’m a quality control freak. In the
beginning, I thought the world was going to fall apart because I
couldn’t see what was going on on the second floor.’
Yet he still entrusted the precious Fallons brand to the wrong people
and there have been a couple of false starts - most notably, the
majority-owned joint venture, Fallon McElligott Berlin, which disbanded
But now Fallon is content that the New York office is run by ad
professionals who have Fallons in their blood.
Barrett, a copywriter, began his career at Fallons in 1985, but he is
best known for his eight years at Wieden & Kennedy, where he was the
lead creative director on the Nike account and has been responsible for
most of Nike’s Michael Jordan ads over the past three years.
Barrett says: ’The Fallon McElligott brand was the key factor in making
my decision. It’s about people and values and partnerships with the
right list of blue-chip clients.’ Fallon adds: ’It is gratifying to know
that like-minded people can withstand the test of time and separation. I
am confident in his ability to lead and inspire.’
Bill Westbrook, who has been acting as the creative director in New York
since the agency ended its joint venture just over a year ago, will now
concentrate on expansion abroad.