What's an Ad Agency To Do? Fallon and Grey Get The Axe Despite Good Work.

David Kiley

The other day I blogged on an ad by Fallon, London for the Sony Bravia TV. It's a great cinematic ad, I blogged. Ballsy, I blogged. Sony, which obviously didn't read my comments, is now holding a review for a new ad agency. Gee Whiz. Fallon, and agency I respect a lot, seems to be on one of those downward trajectories. It resigned BMW aftre the client called a review a few months ago. Now Sony. A few other painful losses too.

Meantime, Grey Advertising, which has done its best over the years to live up to its name in terms of its creative output, is being replaced on the Panasonic account. Normally, I wouldn't have anything to say. But Ad Age rightly points out that: "Panasonic’s U.S. market share for plasma TVs is 55%, up from 18% since the agency’s campaign began running, according to a survey conducted by Hall & Partners. Mr. Reilly said market share for plasma TVs is roughly 50%, according to NPD data........

Yoshi Yamada, who was named chairman and CEO of Panasonic Corp. of North America in June, 2004, has set the company on an aggressive course of change. He restructured the Panasonic’s workforce last December; changed its corporate name in January 2005 from Matsushita Electric Corp. of America to Panasonic, in recognition that the brand is what customers recognize best; and in April announced that Panasonic will emphasize its promotion of digital products like Plasma TV, digital still cameras and DVD recorders and more than double its investment to promote those products.

According to one executive familiar with the situation, Mr. Yamada intends to build what he calls a “new Panasonic in the USA,” and plans to “implement further drastic changes ... including marketing.”

Look, I'm not being jingoistic here. But why do new marketing chiefs, especially ones who come from overseas, feel the need to put a bullet in an ad agency that is obviously doing a good job after they ascend to a new position. Let's watch to see if Yamada-san has an agency of his own with whom he has a relationship that he wants to give the business to. I've seen this movie before. But let's watch and see if I'm wrong.

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