School Reports 2017: Fallon

Cadbury's Milk Tray
Cadbury's Milk Tray

Score: 3
Last year: 4

How the agency rates itself: 6

The departure of Fallon co-founder Robert Senior from Publicis Groupe in January this year was an apposite symbol for how far the agency’s star has fallen – the once indie idol reduced to Saatchi sidekick. Senior co-founded Fallon in 1998 but the agency is a shadow of its former self, which shone so brightly in the 2000s for the likes of Sony and Asda.

But some encouraging account wins for Expedia and Axa, in particular, show there is life in the agency yet. Chief executive Gareth Collins may be able to bring the fruits of senior management stability to bear: Jason Knight was promoted to replace David Hackworthy, who moved upstairs, while Nick Bell remains the creative top dog.

On the creative front, it was Cadbury’s stunt to revive the Milk Tray Man that created enormous buzz and promised to be one of the most memorable campaigns of the year. Sadly, the work itself fell well short of expectations – the ad was flat, predictable and forgettable – but perhaps that matters less today if the advance PR creates enough noise.

That aside, the animal-centric "Taste like this feels" campaign seemed to provide more fruitful terrain for Cadbury, whose brands represent nearly half of Fallon’s client roster. But at least Skoda is continuing to keep the faith after awarding Fallon its UK digital account in addition to the European ad business.

The agency is a third lighter in staff than it was this time last year and, while Fallon claims to have made itself leaner and more efficient, one wonders if there is enough diversity among its talent to match the diversity of work it wants to offer. One thing’s for sure, this leaner, fitter team must now prove that Fallon has a reason to exist.

How the agency describes its year in a tweet

A turning point.

Score key: 9 Outstanding 8 Excellent 7 Good 6 Satisfactory 5 Adequate 4 Below average 3 Poor 2 A year to forget 1 Survival in question

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