Pat Fallon died last Friday, he was a legendary and beloved adman from the Midwest, and his influence was felt throughout America, the UK and other parts of the world. Fearless, tough, direct, difficult, funny, the ad world needed Pat Fallon’s storming of the ramparts of Madison Avenue and the Miracle Mile, from Minneapolis of all places. In 1981 he and four partners disrupted the cozy equilibrium of the advertising world by founding an agency “for clients who would rather outsmart the competition than outspend them.”

Within two years they were Ad Age’s agency of the year, winning large national accounts with the promise of “courage and integrity.” A Fortune magazine profile in 1997 described “a rogue band of contentious, kick-ass ad guys in Minneapolis” led by a “ferocious, extraordinary man who has Madison Avenue buzzing. He is single-minded. Strategic. Hands-on. Iconoclastic. Fallon is building a cutting-edge agency a thousand miles from Madison Avenue.”

The trajectory was meteoric along with some spectacular blow-ups, but the vicissitudes of the ad business only left him with the determination to keep standing rock solid. The Fallon family became part of the Publicis Groupe in 2000 and its roots became intertwined with Saatchi & Saatchi, especially in London where the Saatchi-Fallon connection is inseparable. Part mainstream agency, part creative outlier, Fallon has a legacy that will burn strongly into the future. The advertising world is populated with creatives, planners and suits for whom the grit, guts and genius of Pat Fallon was a defining moment in their careers.

Vale Pat Fallon.

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Kevin Roberts

Kevin Roberts is founder of Red Rose Consulting; business leader and educator; author and speaker; adviser on marketing, creative thinking and leadership.


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