Seward Heads Up Media at Fallon

Lisa Seward knew she was not tilting at windmills when her team at Fallon in Minneapolis won Citibank’s media buying account, valued at $100 million, in September 2000.

“The day we won that business, I felt a little less like Don Quixote,” said Seward, who last week was promoted to media director of Fallon North America.

Seward, 38, formerly media director for Fallon in Minneapolis, is among a small group of execs who are speaking out against the unbundling of media, now the industry norm. She continues to be based in Minneapolis and assumes the duties of New York media director Mary Gerzema, 39, who joins Interpublic Group’s Universal McCann at month’s end.

Seward becomes Fallon’s main contact with media agencies on accounts that include Georgia Pacific, whose buying is handled by Publicis Groupe sibling Zenith Media. Fallon does media planning for most of its clients and buying for all but Timberland, Dyson, BMW, Purina and Georgia Pacific. The shop handles an estimated $300 million in buying, including United Airlines ($60 million) and Holiday Inn ($25 million).

“In media, we need to get clients to realize that creativity gets results,” said Seward. By bundling, she added, “we don’t have to go through a client to let us work with creatives.”

Seward’s sentiments are shared by executives such as UM’s Jean Pool, who joined in December from MindShare. UM has had success with its bundled services, winning media reviews totaling $1.7 billion in billings in 2002.

Seward reports to David Lubars, president of Fallon North America. A 16-year media veteran, Seward began her career at Leo Burnett and joined Fallon in 1996.