Fallon was initially hired to handle advertising for McDonald's $75 million launch of Arch Deluxe. Fallon produced a splashy, humor-laden campaign that targeted the sandwich (and the subsequent line of other Deluxe sandwiches) to "adult tastes." Some critics pilloried the effort, which included billboards of kids grimacing at the taste of the new burger, aghast that McDonald's would risk alienating the very youth market that defines McDonald's image.
The long-term relationship proved problematic. After the initial launch, McDonald's sought more product- and promotion-oriented advertising. Fallon declined, telling McDonald's it was a branding agency and not interested in product or pricing ads. Leo Burnett USA and DDB Needham Worldwide, both Chicago, began to get more Arch Deluxe assignments. By November, Fallon's work was off the air.
The turnabout shows how quickly a noted creative hot shop can land in the hot seat: The McDonald's announcement came only days after Holiday Inn pulled an ad created by Fallon to launch a $30 million branding campaign, and shortly after the introduction of a controversial new campaign for Miller Lite beer.
Copyright February 1997, Crain Communications Inc.