Fallon Continues Global Trek

Fallon executives said they have their eyes on future recovery rather than current recession. That’s why they are forging ahead with global expansion.

“You need to take risks to move forward,” said Eric Block, general manager of Fallon’s Minneapolis office and a member of the expansion committee. “We think this is good for Fallon. When the market improves, we’ll be ready.”

Fallon’s long-planned global ex pansion is set to become reality with the establishment of offices in São Paulo, Brazil; Hong Kong and Singapore. The outposts were expected to open by January [Adweek, Aug. 20].

“The ‘little experiment on the prairie’ continues,” wrote agency chairman Pat Fallon in an internal memo announcing the expansion. “These new, full-service offices will set the highest standards in strategic thinking and creativity.”

Fallon now has six offices on four continents: North America, South America, Asia and Europe. The agency expects to eventually have eight to 12 offices worldwide, a relatively small number forming what they have termed “a new kind of global network.”

“We’re not trying to export our brand around the world,” Block said. “We have to make sure we’re partnering with peo ple who have the same approach and culture.”

As it did with its London office three years ago, Fallon has turned to local ad executives to head its new outposts, said John Gerzema, managing partner of international expansion. São Paulo will be run by Marcelo Aragão, a copywriter at Almap/ BBDO, Eugênio Mohallem, a former creative director at Almap/BBDO, and Roberta di Pace, former general manager at Talent Comunicaçao S.A.

In Asia, Calvin Soh, who worked at Fallon, New York, as an associate creative director, will be a partner of the Singapore and Hong Kong offices. Joining him will be Yang Yeo, formerly of BBH, Singapore and London, and Chris Lee, formerly of Ogilvy & Mather in Singapore.

Fallon will acquire Lee’s design firm, Design Asylum, and incorporate its business into a Duffy Design operation in Asia. A Duffy office is also expected to open in South America.

The principals in all of the offices were made partners, which gives them a personal stake in the business. “People who want to drive a successful business want to be rewarded in that way,” Block said.

The agency has no “timetable or deadline” for opening the remaining offices, although executives hope to have the entire network running within the next five years, Block said.