Our graduates are busy.... designing global car ads
International advertising agency Fallon was founded in Minneapolis in 1981. Its Prague office employs fifty professionals, the majority of them working on the global account for Czech car manufacturer ŠKODA. Among them are Prague College graduates Christophe Wechsler and Angel Diaz. We visited Fallon to talk to them about what they have been working on.How did you both get involved with the company?
Christophe: 'I was running my own business for a while - small design projects mainly. I really liked studying graphic design, but I wanted to push further. Running your own design business is great, but it's not going to bring you really big clients. I was always interested in advertising, and it was watching a few too many episodes of Mad Men that made me think 'How can I apply these skills as a career? My lecturer at Prague College put me in touch with Fallon; I met Colin Lamberton, who was running the creative department, and ended up working here.'
Angel: 'It's kind of funny - in the last year of the BA programme at Prague College they gave us opportunities to visit real businesses and we came here with our portfolios. It was one of the few opportunities I had had to meet with creative directors. And as soon as we stepped through the door, at Fallon we were like, 'Wow!' and I knew this was the sort of place I wanted to work. And now here I am just a few years later! For me it was a really important moment.'
And actually working here, is there anything different from what you expected?
'As a student you have really big eyes, but the truth is that in the agency there's so much pre-production, clients, corporate structure. Here, jobs are distributed - executive creative director, associate creative directors, and teams made up of copywriters and art directors, and everyone is working simultaneously on different briefs.'
How long does a campaign take?
'Just like at college, when you come up with an idea, there’s a long process that goes into creating it. Here it's three or four months of work, but at the end there is real satisfaction, because it's your communication that's talking to people all around the world.'
Is it just for the one client?
'Well, Fallon does ŠKODA mainly, but we also deal with brands from Plzeňský prazdroj and L'Oréal. Our campaigns are international but they are then adapted to the Czech market, the German market and so on.'
What are you most proud of?
Angel: 'We did a campaign for the ŠKODA KODIAQ, called 'Reconnect' - with family, with nature, with the kids. Everywhere I go, I see billboard advertising I was personally involved in - the idea, or shooting, or design or post-production. If you drive by a ŠKODA dealership and see the photographs on the front, that’s probably something Christophe and I both worked on.'
Christophe: 'I arrived as a graphic designer and now I'm an art director. In 2016 my team won first place in the 'Young Lions' competition for creatives under 30 and we got the opportunity to represent the Czech Republic at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival - the Oscars of the advertising world. It was then that I really understood what the advertising world is.'
What's the biggest thing you get out of this job?
Angel: 'We have 50 people from all over the world working here: it’s an amazing hub. They all have different backgrounds, and a different way of thinking. And it's this that every day helps to motivate me - of course the clients are important, but also one’s colleagues and the synergy you get from the workplace.'
Where are your careers taking you?
Angel: 'I'm pretty fresh in this world of advertising, a little bit new here. It’s still a learning process, and when I think it's time to move on, I will. But for now it’s advertising all the way.'
Christophe: 'I want to work my way up to becoming a Creative Director. Not necessarily producing generic campaigns. Rather something that is not only successful for my clients, but also that connects with people emotionally.'
'You know, this industry is extremely full of creative and interesting people. Each country is producing so much; it's more like a super-industry. Every new amazing technology you see, we work with it, touching on issues about quality of life, the workplace, racism, society - it's all about getting your audience involved. Starting the conversation. We want to talk to people. And we want people to talk with us.'