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Fallon

Brown-Forman Expands Relationship with Fallon

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Just a few months after appointing Fallon’s Minneapolis hub to its agency roster on its Woodford Reserve Bourbon, Louisville-based booze brand Brown-Forman, following a review, has now awarded global AOR duties to the Twin Cities stalwart on its nearly 150-year-old Tequila Herradura line. Brown-Forman’s Tequilas SVP/global managing director Ann Stickler says in a statement, “We are excited about working with Fallon. As a brand with solid growth and a promising future, Fallon’s creative work will be instrumental in making Tequila Herradura the most admired tequila brand in the world.”

Fallon succeeds now-defunct agency Lipman on the Tequila Herradura biz and will handle static, video and digital with a focus on key markets including the U.S. Mexico, Canada, Brazil and Russia (the first two being the largest). Expect first work from Fallon, which has notched its third win in as many months including the aftorementioned Brown-Forman brands as well as Loctite Glue, for its newest client to launch in first-half of this year. From what we’ve been told, the agency is still in the final round of the Arby’s pitch.

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King Succeeds Buchner as Fallon CMO

It took a couple of months, but Fallon has found a new chief marketing officer from within, appointing 16-year vet John King to the position. King (pictured) takes over for Rob Buchner, a 25-year Fallon vet who if you recall left the agency in June to assume the role of CEO at fellow Twin Cities op, Campbell Mithun. As for the new CMO, King spent the last five years serving as chief communications officer at Fallon, working with a client roster that includes General Mills and NBCU.

Along with the CMO appointment, Fallon has also brought on Charles Wolford, formerly of Modernista! and 72andSunny, as chief production officer. Additionally, Rocky Novak has shifted from director of digital development to managing director and Julie McBride from director of talent to a larger role as director of talent and communications.

Fallon Makes Some Cuts

Sorry for the lack of details on this one, folks. While we really have no specifics on numbers and departments affected, sources familiar with the matter confirm the multiple tips we’ve received that Minneapolis-based Fallon has cut staff today due to the Cadillac loss. We’ve been told by sources that both the MPLS and Detroit offices of Publicis Groupe-owned Fallon were affected by GM’s decision to move its global creative duties to the IPG team dubbed “Rogue” (the name–still, ugh), which is consisted of Hill Holliday, Campbell Ewald and Lowe. If you have more details, feel free to chime in via comment thread or tips box.

Fallon, Jesus Implore Minnesotans to ‘Vote No’

Election season isn’t just a convenient time to realize which of your friends have fundamental beliefs completely different than your own. It’s also a wonderful time to remember that a good portion of American citizens still think that homosexuals should not have the ability to marry. We can send a man to the moon, but we still cannot agree on whether or not we should treat our fellow human beings fairly.

While this may seem like a completely ass-backwards way of thinking to most of you, let me break it down. There are two kinds of people who oppose gay marriage. The first, likely larger, group of people are homophobic bigots whose opposition makes a lot of sense when you consider that they hate gay people. The second group is comprised of those who belong to a religion whose doctrine was either penned by homophobic bigots or interpreted in a way that only selectively adheres to certain parts of scripture while ignoring everything else. The second group has been a strong and vocal part of American culture since this country was founded, being convinced by bigots throughout our history that there was religious justification for slavery, racism, sexism, and now homophobia.

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We Hear: What’s Going on at Fallon?

Since July 29, we’ve received word basically every other day from different tipsters that there were cuts made at Fallon Minneapolis. While we normally don’t bat an eye when there’s a one-off tip here and there about layoffs, which at times is due to someone’s need to stir the pot, consider our eyebrows raised by the amount of tips we’ve received about this and their frequency in such a short period of time.

We’ve heard numbers thrown out like 20 in terms of the amount of layoffs, with departments ranging from creative to media to production being affected over the past 10 days. We’re still trying to get some sort of clarification or at least confirmation about what’s going on, but after several attempts to reach the Fallon camp, we have yet to hear anything back. Could this just be a continuation of the “adjustments” that they made back in June? The agency’s usually been fairly responsive to us about these matters, so to not even get a  “no” were this not true strikes us as odd. Anyhow, we’re still pursuing this, but if you have any more info, give us a shout in tips or at agencyspy at gmail dot com.

Update: Another tipster has weighed in this morning with this note, which is along the lines of what we’ve been hearing since early last week:  “What’s going on at Fallon is that they lost NBC, which was their only media business and also subsidized positions in other departments.” We’re trying to locate Fallon’s media director, who apparently was on vacation last week, to shed more light on this.

Fallon Makes Some ‘Adjustments’

It’s a rather vague hed, we know, but then again, Fallon’s always been rather cryptic when it comes to confirming tips about the comings and goings of its staff (unless it’s a major promotion announce like Mike Buchner, of course). Anyhow, we’ve been receiving tips sporadically since the beginning of the month regarding layoffs at the agency’s Minneapolis HQ, with reasons including Fallon being overstaffed.

While that remains unfounded for now, we did receive this statement from the agency, which reads, “Fallon continues to grow and has not lost any accounts this year.  We are, however, making adjustments to our team composition in response to our clients’ changing needs.  This includes some new hires and some departures.” Yep, about as specific as you can get, but we’re just left to wonder had Fallon won Sears, how this “adjustment” might’ve been affected. We were unable to pry numbers or departments affected, but we’ll let you know if that changes.

 

Fallon Has a New CEO

It took 27 years but Mike Buchner (pictured) has finally made it to the mountaintop, as the Fallon veteran has been appointed to the chief executive officer post at the Minneapolis agency. Buchner most recently served as COO and now replaces Chris Foster, who shifted titles within the Publicis fold and now serves as chairman/regional CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi Asia Pacific.

The “Lovemarks” guru himself, Kevin Roberts, aka the chairman of Saatchi & Saatchi Fallon Group, says  Buchner “…is an outstanding communications professional who after several senior management roles at Fallon, segues naturally into the lead. Mike has been a pivotal player in the agency’s ‘A-list’ position and he will provide a formidable mix of stability, growth, and vision.”

Buchner joined Fallon right out of college back in ’84, moving from director of account management to GM to eventually COO. Guess loyalty pays off.

Fishburne’s First Outing for Cadillac: ‘Red Blooded Luxury’

In winning GM’s Cadillac account from BBH New York after only six months, Fallon needed some help to meet the industry’s high expectations. They brought veteran Bruce Bildsten over to lead the account, and employed the vocal talents of Laurence Fishburne (aka Cowboy Curtis aka Morpheus aka that pornstar’s dad) for this first round of ads from the agency.

It seems the trend of getting celebrities to do voiceover work for car commercials isn’t ending any time soon. In the past year we’ve had Dexter‘s Michael C. Hall get all phallic over Dodge Chargers and seen Tim Allen claim Chevrolet in the name of “America, Man.” We’re going to give Cadillac the victory in the battle of the voiceover heavyweights because, let’s face it, Fishburne could beat the shit out of either of those dudes if push came to shove.

Really, we applaud Cadillac for their “Red Blooded Luxury” campaign, because people don’t buy fancy cars because they make sense financially (nudge, nudge, Acura). They buy luxury cars to look cool and rich, flexing their dollars for all drivers to see. “Red Blooded Luxury” uses Fishburne’s booming voice and shots seemingly ripped from the pages of Vogue to show that Detroit’s recovering from the depths of economic ruin, and that “American made” and “chic” can be used interchangeably once more.

One more spot after the jump.

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Bruce Bildsten Returning to Fallon to Lead Cadillac

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Bruce Bildsten has rejoined Fallon, the agency where he spent twenty years before leaving to start up his own shop, Brew, in 2005 with Fallon connection planner Michelle Fitzgerald.

Bildsten will take creative lead on Fallon’s recently acquired Cadillac account. During his initial tenure at the agency, the Emmy-winning Bildsten served as ECD and led the work on “BMW Films,” which won the first ever Titanium Lion for innovation at Cannes.

Fallon CCO Darren Spiller, says in a statement, “Bruce is a true craftsman with impeccable creative standards and a body of work that anyone would be proud to own. Additionally, his auto experience and passion for cars is obviously going to be a huge asset to both Fallon and Cadillac going forward. I’m anxious to begin working with him.”

Spiller will have to wait just a bit, though, as Bildsten isn’t expected to take his new post at Fallon until the beginning of October.

More: “Minneapolis Egotist Serves Up Twin Cities Beat Report

Fallon Drives Away with Cadillac

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Looks like General Motors’ new VP of U.S. marketing Joel Ewanick is shaking things up yet again as Adweek reports that GM has shifted its $250-270 million (depending on who you read) Cadillac account from BBH New York to Fallon after just six months.

It appears that BBH NY CEO Greg Andersen was somewhat shocked by the whole turn of events, issuing a statement this morning saying, “We were extremely surprised to learn via the press yesterday that Cadillac has decided to move its advertising business elsewhere. That aside, we’re pleased to have been a part of helping turn Cadillac sales around over the last several months. Incredibly strong sales like we’ve seen recently are exactly why we love doing what we do. We wish this iconic American brand the best and look forward to future partnerships in this dynamic category.”

More: “The Post-Modernista! Cadillac Era Begins

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