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David smith, marketing director for VF Europe, confirmed the claim made by Fallon McElligott Chairman Pat Fallon and his new London partners that the move to open the agency in London preceded the landing of VF's Lee jeans business.

"The win had to be based on the vision for the brand," said Mr. Smith, adding the pitch was a level playing field and that Fallon's U.S. role with Lee Apparel did not give it much of an advantage over the other shops.

Those pitching also included incumbent Grey Advertising; Abbott Mead Vickers/ BBDO, the U.K. agency for sister VF brand Wrangler; and Duckworth, Finn, Grubb, Waters, all London.

Mr. Fallon had said: "It wasn't in the plans. The stars just aligned for us."

Of course, the stars had a little help. Mr. Smith said the agency was told it would have to have a London presence to be considered for the assignment.

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