Mr. Fallon was not discussing a triumph, but a failure: His advertising agency's dismissal from the
|Pat Fallon and Fred Senn's new book from the Harvard Business School Press is entitled 'Juicing the Orange: How to Turn Creativity into a Powerful Business Advantage.' | ALSO: Comment on this column in the 'Your Opinion' box below.|
The Lion in Winter: Pat Fallon
Namesake Fights to Bebuild Agency After String of Downturns
Fallon Fires Creative Chief Paul Silburn
Agency Chairman was 'Not Satisfied With Our Progress'
Fallon COO Leaves to Join Toy Ad Agency
David Dabill Named Third Partner in New Venture of Former Fallon Executives
Fallon Hires Creatives From Wieden and Crispin
Agency Filling Ranks Following String of Departures
Fallon to Close New York Office
President and Top Creative Quit to Start Own Agency
BMW Pulls Out of Branded Entertainment
Company That Pioneered Field Now Cuts it Off
BMW and Fallon Part; Ad Account Goes Into Review
Ends 10-Year Relationship That Created Famed Online Ad Film Series
The statement was, to say the least, counterrevolutionary. Pat Fallon was an architect of advertising's Second Creative Revolution, a Danton to Jay Chiat's Robespierre. Flouting the decades-long convention that agencies had to be near their Eastern clients and their talent pool, he used a canny strategy to draw many of the nation's most creative designers and writers to the lakesides of Minneapolis. That strategy was all about attracting attention by winning awards for cheeky ads and promising creatives the freedom to remain mischievous.
Yet a quarter century after its founding, here was the father of Fallon Worldwide, sitting in a consulting-firm office (mine), uttering consulting-firm-like statements and touting the importance of consulting-like capabilities such as metrics and accountability.
Primacy of the idea
Call it advertising's Third Revolution, and note that it's ably represented in the new book Mr. Fallon has written with his longtime business partner, Fred Senn: "Juicing the Orange: How to Turn Creativity Into a Powerful Business Advantage." Where one would have expected a nostalgic romp through the antics of the '80s, Messrs. Fallon and Senn have articulated a newly mature approach to advertising that remains passionately committed to the primacy of the idea, but is coolly analytical and fiercely results-driven.
"The spreading of the fairy dust doesn't work the way it did," Mr. Fallon said.
'Creative is now in media'
"Creative," he said, "is now in media. We're living in a kind of Wild West, in terms of media. We can invent our own delivery systems!"
He explained the breakthrough of the BMW Films campaign as a triumph of thinking outside the four walls of the creative department. The Fallon team wanted to reinforce BMW's traditional central value, mechanical responsiveness, but without regulatory considerations that constrain TV advertising for autos. They also knew from research that few of their target consumers for the new Z3 sports car were watching mainstream TV. The breakthrough was a piece of media analysis that showed a high correlation between BMW ownership and TiVo ownership. Hence the campaign -- abjure TV, and don't even employ your own creatives to create.
"Using the web allowed us to put all our money into production, not distribution, and it pulled us out of the 'sameness trap' that infects almost all luxury-car advertising," Mr. Fallon said.
Experts on media
"The future of advertising," Mr. Fallon said, "is to become experts on how media is consumed, and by whom."
"Juicing the Orange" is filled with such insights. The Miller failure taught the agency the critical importance of internal communication -- a capability it deployed brilliantly with United Airlines after Sept. 11, 2001, when the company's employees needed a vision they could share.
"Unless all the people in and around a company can own the strategy, have it expressed in a way they can embrace, it won't work," Mr. Fallon concluded, quite counterintuitively for an agency leader whose rep was built on awareness and awards. "Today, we start from the inside out."
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Randall Rothenberg, an author and longtime journalist, is director of intellectual capital at Booz Allen Hamilton.