Inside Track: Fallon gets last laugh with prestigious ad award


The Fallon ad agency is attempting to rebrand the Cadillac image. Veda Partalo, left, Pat Fallon and Bruce Bildsten are key members of the Fallon team.

Photo: Brian Peterson, Star Tribune

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Call it poetic justice. Or the irony of ironies.

But Minneapolis-based Fallon earlier this month won one of the most prestigious advertising awards in the industry for onetime client Cadillac, which let Fallon go as its agency of record almost exactly a year ago.

Fallon received a Gold Effie for its “ATS vs. the World” campaign, which led Cadillac’s successful entry into the compact luxury segment of the auto world, an area where BMW is the category leader.

“This campaign helped the Cadillac brand begin to elbow its way back into the Tier 1 luxury conversation,” Fallon said in a summary of its Effie entry, noting that 70 percent of ATS purchasers were buying a Cadillac for the first time.

“It’s nice to be rewarded for good work and strong results,” said Fallon CEO Mike Buchner. “It’s extra special given our circumstances with Cadillac.”

A year ago, Cadillac put its advertising account up for bid after a nearly three-year run with Fallon and awarded the work to a new agency. Cadillac said it needed a “stronger and larger marketing team” to grow globally. Buchner said Fallon “was fired.”

“This is an outcome we do not deserve,” Buchner said in an internal memo at the time.

“I stand by everything I said to our employees,” Buchner said last week. “We’re very proud of what we accomplished.”

The integrated, multimedia advertising campaign for Cadillac featured the ATS tackling some of the toughest and most picturesque roads in the world. Footage was shot on location in Chile, Monaco, Morocco and China.

University of Minnesota advertising Prof. Jennifer Johnson said in her mind that the Effie stands for “efficiency.”

“Generally it indicates that the advertising met the business goals in a big way,” Johnson said.

Cadillac spokesman David Caldwell said the ATS vs. the World campaign was “a dynamic way” to enter the sport sedan market.


But wait, There’s more

The fast-growing Minneapolis agency Solve also won a Gold Effie in the same contest as Fallon for its work on behalf of Medifast. Solve’s “Becoming Yourself” campaign for the weight-loss company featured real Medifast clients filmed as they began the program and again nine months later, edited to show touching and emotional conversations between their current thinner and former heavier selves.

And the Martin Williams agency won a gold ADDY Award from the American Advertising Federation for a commercial it did for the Minnesota Twins Community Foundation. Titled “Hockey Season,” the commercial showed a group of kids lacing up their skates and shoveling snow off a frozen pond so they could play — baseball. The ad won in the public service division for television.

Minnesota has 3 fastest-growing woman-owned businesses

Three Minnesota businesses are ranked among the top 50 fastest-growing woman-owned companies in the world by the Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO). Appearing on this year’s list of WPO growth companies of at least $1 million in revenue are Morning Star Financial Services of Golden Valley, eCapital Advisors of Bloomington and Innovative Office Solutions of Burnsville.

Minnesota, with five WPO chapters, is the organization’s second-largest state behind New York with more than 150 WPO-member owned businesses. WPO has chapters on six continents.

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