It was one of Fallon's darkest moments since its founding.
In 2013, the Minneapolis-based Publicis Groupe agency saw two of
its three biggest clients -- Cadillac and Purina -- walk out the
door. Combined, the accounts made up nearly half of the agency's
The Cadillac loss in June was particularly devastating. A service office in Detroit that was opened for the automaker's account was shuttered and the 15 employees working there laid off. In all, about 75 of the 225 people in Fallon's U.S. operation were let go. Fallon executives called it a "black swan" event from which many agencies do not recover.
But Fallon did. CEO Mike Buchner and his team went on an aggressive new-business hunt, beginning with an Arby's creative review, in which it triumphed last January. Along with H&R Block, the fast feeder is now the shop's biggest account.
In total, Fallon prevailed in seven out of the 10 pitches it entered in 2014, including Loctite, which is advertising in the Super Bowl; Big Ten Network; Truvia; and Quicken. The agency has fully recovered from the lost Cadillac and Purina business, with revenue rising 20% in 2014.