Joining Ray Mithun and Mac Martin as one of only three Minnesotans to be inducted into the American Advertising Federation Hall of Fame, Pat Fallon, the co-founder of Fallon Worldwide (formerly Fallon McElligott Rice), had his hometown honor him when Mayor R.T. Rybak declared Thursday "Pat Fallon Day" in Minneapolis.
The ad man, who grew up in "downtown Minneapolis on Fifteenth and Second Avenue before diversity and downtown were cool," seemed to be returning the compliment to his hometown when he said in an interview from New York that it may not be Madison Avenue, but Marquette Avenue, and Minneapolis as a whole, that's set to have its day, let alone year, and perhaps era.
"In the beginning we lost pieces of business because we were in Minneapolis," Fallon recalled. "We couldn't win ties being in Minneapolis. We had to be demonstrably better. But that's all gone away through technology. The initial burden of being in Minneapolis I think today is almost an advantage, because we're seen as being unencumbered by the difficulties of larger cities. We're able to practice our craft...with less hassle around us."
"It's an affirmation that imagination and creative problem solving is not geographically located."
While technology may have transformed the perception/reality gap (to steal a tagline from a famous ad campaign Fallon's team did for Rolling Stone magazine), the creative community also inspired the creativity at his ad agency. And sometimes, said Fallon, it worked both ways.
Professing "amazing admiration" for the Guthrie's Joe Dowling, and adding that "the music scene is inspiring to us," he notes that "although advertising doesn't inspire a lot of people, there have been some creative people who have told us that our ability to plant a flag in Minneapolis and say we don't have to go anyplace else to be globally successful is an inspiration to them."
As for the "Pat Fallon Day" declaration? "It's kind of awkward," Fallon said. "On a personal level it's not anything I ever thought about."
And "it means R.T. is running like crazy for governor."