FALLON MCELLIGOTT: TURNS ATTENTION TO EXISTING CLIENTS

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Agency Rating: ***

Fallon had some of the most talked-about -- and debated -- 1997 creative in the "Dick" campaign for Miller Brewing Co.'s Miller Lite and United Airlines' "Rising." But, its torrid new-business pace of 1995 and 1996 cooled down as the agency turned its attention to handling existing clients. Perhaps it decided it was time, given its split with McDonald's Corp. after the much-maligned Arch Deluxe launch and the loss of its portion of the Ameritech Corp. account.

Perhaps the agency was distracted by the search for a replacement for President-Creative Director Bill Westbrook, who was planning to step down in mid-1998 but, on second thought, is not.

Another problem area was New York, where Fallon's dual operations were reduced to a single office after it parted ways with majority owned Fallon McElligott Berlin, now Berlin, Cameron & Partners, which took with it clients Coca-Cola Co., Conde Nast Publications, National Basketball Association, The Washington Post and NBC's Olympic Games account.

LOOKING AHEAD

Fallon started 1998 with a retooled campaign for United, injecting some humor into the message, and it has continued evolving the "Dick" campaign.

Recently, Mr. Westbrook turned his attention to New York, overseeing a revamping of operations there to form a full-service office under the Fallon name while expanding the staff and, hopefully, the shop.

Creatively, the agency has yet to find a cohesive message for BMW and its Holiday Inn work, which got off to an outrageous start, has become all but invisible.

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