AdAge’s “Comeback Agency of the Year” was in rough shape following the 2006 departure of Jack Connors. They no longer had their eponymous leader at the helm, had lost cornerstone account FleetBoston due to its merger with Bank of America and had struggled to create work that gained attention.
Sounds a little bit like Fallon, with the departure of Pat Fallon, the loss of a cornerstone account (or, in Fallon’s case, accounts as Citi, BMW and United Airlines have walked out the frosted-glass door) and the struggle to create work that gains attention.
Hill Holliday righted the ship and built some buzz on the back of one big account win: Bank of America.
With that win, Hill Holliday had their mojo back. Marketers considered them a hot agency and they began to not only participate in more pitches, but to win them. P&G (Dunkin’ Donuts), AOL, Chili’s, Gather.com, Novartis’ Diovan, Rockport Co., Toys “R” Us, and Verizon Wireless’ national local/retail business were all picked up in 2007 and it’s back to national prominence for the Boston shop.
Fallon needs that same spark and Microsoft, however challenging the account may prove to be, could be it.
One big win, especially one where they beat out the current hot creative shop would indicate to marketers that Fallon’s rebuilding plan is on-track and reaping dividends (as well as stabilizing the balance sheet). One big win will stave off the mooted folding of Fallon into Saatchi & Saatchi. One big win will let Al Kelly tout his new creative team as a force in the industry. One big win will bring clients back behind Fallon’s frosted glass doors.
Don’t believe me? Just look at Hill Holliday.