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Ends 10-Year Relationship That Created Ad Film Series

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CHICAGO ( -- Fallon Worldwide, Minneapolis, and BMW of North America are parting ways after a 10-year relationship that featured the highly touted and revolutionary BMW Films branded-entertainment effort, agency CEO Pat Fallon said.

BMW is putting its account into review following a change in marketing leadership. The automaker got a new marketing vice president in April when longtime marketing chief Jim McDowell moved over to head BMW's Mini USA arm as vice president of sales and marketing.

His successor is Jack Pitney, 42, with whom he switched places. Mr. Pitney is in an all-day offsite meeting with other BMW executives, his secretary said, and unavailable for comment. A BMW spokeswoman had no comment.

Fallon declined to participate in the review. "We don't believe there's a need for a review," Mr. Fallon said.

Groundbreaking ad work
Fallon won acclaim for the groundbreaking BMW Films it created for the automaker. The online films, featuring A-list directors and Clive Owen as the mysterious driver for hire, were designed to reach BMW's affluent clientele, which increasingly didn't watch TV. Launched in 2001, they set the standard for the emerging branded entertainment field.

BMW spent $165.4 million in 2004 in measured media, essentially flat from 2003, according to figures from TNS Media Services.

Media is handled by Publicis' Optimedia, New York.

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Jean Halliday contributed to this report.