TN’s Bell Driving Collaboration

New Unit Consolidates Network’s Below-the-Line Operations
CHICAGO–Collaboration has become something of a mantra for True North Communications chief executive officer David Bell, manifesting itself again through the holding company’s formation of Marketing Drive Worldwide, a consolidated below-the-line division.
“We’ve tied the agencies’ and Marketing Drive’s interests together,” Bell said last week.
Part of Bell’s method to achieve that was to place agency executives on Marketing Drive’s management committee. Along with principals from the companies housed within the new division, committee members include Brian Williams, president of Foote, Cone & Belding in Chicago; G. Kelly O’Dea, vice chairman of international operations and global client development at Bozell Worldwide in New York; and Dennis McClain of Temerlin McClain in Dallas.
Marketing Drive is made up of 14 TN-owned units. They will keep their identities for competitive purposes, while being grouped under promotions, consulting, relationship marketing, promotion services and branding/design divisions. Four of the units–Wells Marketing in San Francisco; Barr Benedett Group in Westport, Conn.; Brushstrokes in Hong Kong; and Marketing Drive in London–were acquisitions made in the last 18 months, a TN representative said.
According to Bell, 40 percent of business now handled under the Marketing Drive umbrella is outside the U.S., making the division a major component of TN’s efforts to increase its global presence.
Marketing Drive is headed by Wes Bray, formerly president of TN’s Promotion Services Group, working out of Wilton, Conn.; and by Mark Timbrell of Marketing Drive in London.