Fallon McElligott, widely considered among the nation's most creative advertising agencies, is opening an office in Los Angeles in the hopes of attracting talent the firm can't lure to Minneapolis.
The office will not be a full-service Fallon branch, but a space for creative personnel that will work on accounts being handled out the headquarters office in Minneapolis.
"We're not going to have accounts in L.A.," said Fallon President David Lubars. "It's just hard to recruit people in Minneapolis as fast as we're growing."
Four of the commercials that ran during Super Bowl XXXIV were created by Fallon, including the one featuring cat-herding cowboys and another that showed a "walking" Christopher Reeve. Though the company had staunchly maintained that it would remain independent, it recently announced an agreement to be acquired by Paris-based Publicis S.A.
Fallon's presence in L.A. is sure to result in nervousness among local creative powerhouses like TBWA Chiat/Day when it comes to retaining talent. Nonetheless, advertising insiders say the new office might ultimately help attract more people to L.A.
"We always welcome a first-rate creative shop to the market," said Jerry McGee, chairman and CEO of rival firm Ogilvy & Mather and co-president of the Los Angeles Advertising Club. "The more we can attract the marquee names, the more we can attract talent, and that will benefit everybody."
Lubars said it may be easier to lure folks to the sunny beaches of California than the cold plains of Minneapolis. "Most of the people who work for us come from all over," he said. "Not everyone wants to move to Minneapolis."
With offices in Minneapolis, New York and London, Fallon represents BMW, Starbucks and United Airlines. Lubars, formerly the chief creative officer at BBDO West in Los Angeles, said the L.A. office initially will be staffed with four people, including Warren Eakins, who recently worked at Leagas Delaney in San Francisco.
"It's a way of (attracting) outstanding West Coast creative talent who might fit within the Fallon culture," said Mike Agate, chairman and chief executive of Select Resources International, an advertising consulting firm.
Agate said this is the first time he's heard of a firm opening a space in another city that will be solely dedicated to the creative side. The situation could appeal to some within the industry.
"It calls for a certain type of individual to move from a large, full-service (office) to a situation where they are more isolated," said Agate.
Lubars has yet to find an appropriate space for the office, though he said he is looking for something in the Santa Monica area. No word yet on when the office will open, and for now, Lubars said there are no plans for more than four creative employees.
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