Creative, Connections Help Fallon Gain Gateway

Fallon’s creative reel, Midwestern ethos and personal connections to the client were factors in Gateway’s expected decision to award the shop creative duties on its $250 million account, sources said.

Gateway in November began contacting agencies, looking beyond incumbent McCann-Erickson Worldwide [Adweek, Dec. 18] Shops contacted included Fallon, Arnold Worldwide in Boston, Siltanen/-Keehn in El Segundo, Calif., and DiMassimo Brand Advertising, New York, sources said.

Gateway, whose founder Ted Waitt last month returned as CEO and immediately brought in new management, declined to confirm Fallon’s appointment.

“We are still discussing our ad agency business,” manager of consumer initiatives Greg Lund said.

But sources said the company, which started in Sioux City, S.D., but is now based in San Diego, was wowed by Fallon’s creative reel and Minneapolis sensibility. “Gateway is an intensely Midwestern culture,” one executive said. “So is Fallon.”

Fallon may have also been helped through connections with Gateway vice president of advertising Stuart Redsun, who while at Nike worked with agency creatives Jamie Barrett and Bob Moore.

Gateway initially approached shops about a creative project, but the recent Waitt-led house cleaning quickly shifted the conversation to include the entire creative account.

Waitt was not happy with incumbent McCann Erickson’s work, which the client generally found to be “more corny than folksy,” one source said. Gateway officials also had grown dis-satisfied with McCann’s level of service since the shop won Microsoft’s account in 1999, sources said.

McCann won the business shortly after Jeffrey Weitzen joined Gateway in January 1998. Weitzen resigned from Gateway two weeks ago. Gateway officially dismissed the agency late last week.

Fallon is in negotiations with the company to handle the account out of its New York and Minneapolis offices, sources said. Work will mainly focus on broadcast and print work, according to sources.

McCann’s media services arm, Universal McCann, will continue to handle planning and buying duties, but sources said a media review is likely. “There has been no determination on a media move,” Lund said.