The Ad Industry Remembers Pat Fallon, 1945-2015

By Erik Oster 

Voices from around the industry spent much of the weekend honoring Fallon founder and former CEO Pat Fallon, who died this Saturday from a hemorrhagic stroke at age 70.

Fallon co-founded the Minneapolis agency, originally known as Fallon McElligott Rice, in 1981, running a full-page ad in the Minneapolis tribune before the agency even had a client declaring it was looking for “clients who would rather outsmart the competition than outspend them.” He served as Fallon’s CEO for the next 27 years, expanding the agency into London and Tokyo before transitioning to the chairman emeritus position in 2008. Fallon, the man and the agency, helped establish Minneapolis as an advertising stronghold in the midwest while leading work for clients including MTV, Miller Lite, United Airlines, BMW, Porsche, Cadillac, Citi, Lee Jeans and Holiday Inn Express. 

“We are devastated by the loss of our iconic leader,” current Fallon CEO Mike Buchner said in a statement. “He was our inspiration, our fire in the belly, our eternal conscience and the head of our Fallon family. We will miss him dearly, but are fully committed to living up to the legacy of greatness that he established at the place that bears his name.”


Among the tributes and memorials that have poured in since Saturday, Campaign U.S. collected a series of prominent industry leaders’ thought about their time working with Fallon, including BBDO Worldwide chief creative officer and chairman David Lubars, who called Pat “brilliant, charismatic, visionary” and Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide CEO Robert Senior, co-founder of Fallon London in 1998, who referred to him as “the very best friend anyone could possibly wish for.”

Adweek ran an extended response piece on Saturday, noting that, from the beginning, Fallon sought “clients who would rather outsmart the competition than outspend them.”