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Breaking: Fallon Minn.’s 99 Problems – Kelly, Wiggins Depart; Spiller Comes Aboard As ECD

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Recently, Fallon Minneapolis has been creeping back into the light with several account wins helping to ratchet up the momentum. And while, Fallon may have just been starting to shine on, recent developments have us wondering whether or not the shop is destined to slip back down into the darkness.

Al Kelly, who has been Executive Creative Director since 2007, has left Fallon. Where is he going? WE HEAR… that he’s been interviewing with the likes of TBWA Chiat/Day among other shops. Why did he leave? You can take your pick from about 99 problems such as: Fallon’s lack of serious commitment to building a digital capability; the intrusion of the Saatchi mindset on what was once a unique business and well, if you’re getting courted by bigger, faster more dazzling agencies – wouldn’t you bail on the tumultuous Fallon, too?

Digital Creative Director Chris Wiggins has quit as well. Too bad. He and his wife, Brenda Fogg, came up with the new social networking tool Skimmer, which was released under the Fallon banner. Just the kind of thinking death star agencies need right now. It seems that Crispin Porter recognizes the value of such ingenuity, because that’s where Wiggins is headed.

darrenspiller.jpgNaturally, you’re wondering who has been named to the ECD spot. It’s Darren Spiller (pictured right) of Publicis Mojo Melbourne who was hand picked by the Saatchi overloads that run the SSF Group. From a cursory look at his resume, Darren is an accomplished creative director, but seems to have limited digital experience. No matter. Fallon CEO Chris Foster apparently wanted one of his own. If you recall, before coming to Fallon in March 2008, Foster was the VP, Global Equity Director at Saatchi & Saatchi New York. Our understanding is that Chris is still all about the business – running a ship in which account managers have all the say from traditional creative to digital and beyond.

And hey! Where does all this leave Dave Damman who returned to work under Kelly in 2007 to heavily support the creative team?

Who knows. Fallon isn’t talking. Emails sent to the agency went unanswered. So, let’s make some bets, yeah? Ten to one – Fallon will begin to farm out its digital work to partners rather than creating work in-house. Five to one – more talented, high level creatives and planners will be looking for the escape hatch. Two to one? If you love this business, right now, you feel a deep loss for the days when Pat Fallon’s shop was blazing trails and burning up the industry.

More: Not Flash. Just SSF.

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