Agency Hopes London Success Will Translate Globally

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CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- As expected, Publicis Groupe's Fallon Worldwide and its Duffy Design unit will open three creative offices in Sao Paulo, Singapore and Hong Kong by January 2002 to service its United Airlines and Timberland accounts, among others.

Minneapolis-based Fallon and Duffy have 14 clients in Brazil and 16 clients who do business throughout Asia, a spokeswoman said.

Fallon Chairman Pat Fallon announced the agency's international expansion strategy in 1998 and opened a London shop the following year but didn't have the money to invest in more offices until Publicis acquired the agency in 2000.

Shoestring budget
Even with funding from Publicis, the network is being built on a shoestring, following the model established in London of Fallon backing a local team to open an agency under the Fallon name.

In keeping with the London design, three local agency executives were named partners to run the Sao Paulo unit. Marcelo Aragao, 39, is leaving Omnicom Group's Almap/ BBDO, Sao Paulo, where he was a copywriter. He was earlier with Talent Comunicacao, Sao Paulo. Eugenio Mohallem, 38, will be a partner/creative; he was a creative director at Almap/BBDO. Roberta diPace, 40, becomes partner/business from general manager of Talent Comunicacao.

Fallon's Singapore and Hong Kong offices also will be led by a trio of creative partners, who met while serving in the Singapore Army.

Calvin Soh, 33, partner/creative, moves back to Singapore from New York, where he was associate creative director at Fallon. He earlier worked for Publicis' Saatchi & Saatchi, Singapore. Yang Yeo, 33, joins the unit from art director at Bcom3 Group's Bartle Bogle Hegarty London. The third partner, Chris Lee, 31, rounds out the team after his design firm, Design Asylum, is acquired by Duffy. Mr. Lee earlier worked for WPP Group's Ogilvy & Maher, Singapore, and Bartle Bogle Hegarty, London.

Six employees from Asylum will establish Duffy Singapore immediately while Mr. Lee prepares to open a Singapore and a Hong Kong office.

Quick success
Fallon's London office was a quick success, opening with VF Corp.'s Lee jeans account and going on a new business binge. Fallon launched Starbuck's in the U.K. and rebuilt Volkswagen-owned Skoda's poor quality image in the U.K. Five local partners split a substantial minority stake, and Fallon holds the majority, giving the agency a joint-venture feel.

As for the new ventures, advertising-crazy Brazil is a friendly environment for new agencies, but Asia tends to be tough territory for start-ups.

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