The word on the street is that Fallon’s Minneapolis office is down to around 75 people from around 400 a mere five years ago. It is sad news and it leaves observers in Minneapolis in a bit of a pickle.
Everyone likes to indulge in a little schadenfreude from time to time, taking sweet and delicious enjoyment in the precipitous fall of an agency that had been flying so high for so long.
Interestingly, the ex-Fallonites that I have spoken too are among those taking the least pleasure in the agency’s decline….even though who were caught up in the massive layoffs following the loss of most of the agency’s account. On the one hand, this feeling is self-serving. Fallon is on their resume as much as their alma mater is. Just like you want your alma mater to get more selective after you leave, you want your old agencies to do well if only because it makes you look like you are that much better. On the other hand, they are genuinely disappointed at what happened to the shop. A lot of people drank the Fallon kool-aid, not just because the agency did great work, but because the agency put Minneapolis advertising on the map. It is hard to watch them fade.
A common complaint, however, is that it is harder to attract talent from other parts of the country since Fallon started their downward spiral. Other agencies in town may be growing by leaps and bounds and doing excellent work, but Fallon is still the headlining shop in the city and with them down out-of-state prospects just don’t have Minnesota on the top of their list of possible destinations.
There is also a little bit of the “Austin Syndrome” where prospects have a niggling fear that should things not work out at whichever agency they move to that there will be no other shops to get work at unless they move back home. The worry is baseless, at least in Minneapolis, but that sort of niggling fear tends to keep prospects at home, making it tougher for Minneapolis agencies to get fresh blood.
Though there are occasional comments that delight in Fallon’s humbling, most of the commentary around the Twin Cities is hopeful that they will right the ship.