School Reports 2015: Fallon


Score: 4  Last year: 6

Fallon had another disappointing year on a number of fronts.

Its chief executive, Gail Gallie, left the agency in April after nearly four years at the helm, with James Townsend, the managing director, David Hackworthy, the chief strategy officer, and Santiago Lucero, the executive creative director, stepping up to take charge. But less than six months later, Lucero also left.

Meanwhile, the work was decidedly average. Fallon released activity for Giffgaff and the first UK-specific campaign for Netflix. It also created several ads for Cadbury, including a TV spot that featured a man called Keith becoming joyful after taking a bite of a Dairy Milk – the first execution under the brand’s "the joy reflex" banner.

The year had its bright moments, though.

Nick Bell, of DDB and Leo Burnett fame, and most recently at 180 Amsterdam and The Brooklyn Brothers, was installed as the executive creative director to help turn around the agency’s output. Fallon promises a flurry of new work in the first half of this year.

The agency had a big win in the European Skoda account from Leagas Delaney, prompting it to open an office in Prague. Fallon also landed the Alzheimer’s Society after a competitive pitch.

But it said goodbye to clients including Netflix and, at the start of 2015, Giffgaff. In addition, Fallon, which had been working with House of Fraser on a project basis since 2011, lost out on the retained account to 18 Feet & Rising.

The agency will have to dig deep in 2015 and start performing. Magnus Djaba, a former Fallon managing director, was promoted to UK chief executive of Saatchi & Saatchi Fallon Group in May 2014. He won’t allow the agency to drift for long. Bell and Hackworthy are real talents. Let’s see if 2015 is the year they can get Fallon beating its chest.

How the agency scores itself: 6

How the agency rates itself: We took Cadbury and Skoda global, and opened another Fallon office in Europe, welcoming 35 new Fallonites along the way. Back at home, Nick Bell joined as our new creative lead. We enter 2015 rejuvenated and inspired.

Type of agency Creative
Company ownership Publicis Groupe
Nielsen billings 2014 £64m
Nielsen billings 2013 £62m
Declared income n/s
Total accounts at year end 15
Accounts won 2 (biggest: Alzheimer’s Society)
Accounts lost 3 (biggest: Mikado)
Number of staff 115 (+15%)
Key personnel David Hackworthy chief strategy officer
James Townsend managing director
Nick Bell executive creative director

Score key: 9 Outstanding 8 Excellent 7 Good 6 Satisfactory 5 Adequate 4 Below average 3 Poor 2 A year to forget 1 Survival in question

Footnote: *indicates where agencies claim the corporate governance constraints of the Sarbanes-Oxley legislation.