Fallon Quits Lifeminders.com Amid Bowl Fumble

Fallon McElligott has resigned Lifeminders.com, citing the client’s changed business plans, not a spot produced in-house that the company proclaimed to be the “worst ad in the Super Bowl.”
Tim Hanlon, the Herndon, Va., company’s vice president of marketing, said the split was “amicable,” adding it was unrelated to the agency’s refusal to produce a Super Bowl spot on two weeks’ notice.
“We were thrilled with the work they had done [for the account], but when we went to a business-to-business play, it was not where they wanted to be,” he said. “We realized advertising was going to be a small part of where we were heading.”
Lifeminders is unlikely to conduct a review for its advertising account, which, with the company’s focus on database-management, will be largely business-to-business, Hanlon said. Instead, an upcoming trade campaign will also be created in-house.
Fallon, headed by Pat Fallon, won the account in October without a review. Billings then were unknown, but agency officials said it would be one of the shop’s largest accounts, which would put it at $50-60 million.
An agency representative said the split was the result of the client’s business-model shift and not bad feelings over the Super Bowl spot.
Lifeminders bought a 30-second slot during the Super Bowl for an estimated $2.8 million, but later decided its plans did not include the big game. But the company could not unload the spot, said Hanlon. In late December–when it became clear the company would have to put something on the air quickly–Fallon officials said they could not create a spot in that short amount of time, Hanlon said.
Hanlon called in a team of freelancers from the Bozell Group, whom he knew as an executive there, to create the spot.
“I wish Fallon had done it, because they would have done a great job,” Hanlon said. “But I’m proud of ours.”