2001 Rating: 2 stars
For this Publicis Groupe shop, 2002 swung between sharp highs and lows. On one hand, it was a strong year creatively as Fallon shifted into overdrive its Internet movie series "The Hire" for BMW of North America, with three inventive new installments. Quirky, existential work for Lee Jeans, delightful Public Broadcasting Service spots and an unexpectedly urbane effort for Timberland Co. also stood out in the portfolio.
At the same time, the Minneapolis-based agency suffered painful losses, including longtime clients Nikon and Timex Corp., despite a strong new-business run that included the global creative assignment for Nestle's Purina pet brands, Dyson vacuums, St. Paul Cos. financial services and SoBe Beverages.
Following January layoffs and the March departure of No. 2 creative director Bob Moore, Fallon has gotten its house in order with a management shift that sets its longer-term succession plan. A December layoff of 16 people dampened the yearend considering the new-business momentum.
With much of Fallon's creative department restored, the agency likely will try to beef up its strategic and media reputation. With planning director Anne Bologna taking over the N.Y. office as president, watch for a new business renaissance. It's unlikely the BMW folks will continue "The Hire" as it looks for a fresh way to stay ahead of the long-form advertising bandwagon.