Bell Takes On Frito-Lay at TL

It may not match the thrills found in the Tom Clancy novels he loves to read. But when it comes to marketing, John Bell believes the promotions arena is where the action is.

“[Advertising is] still a passive medium,” said Bell, 38, who has joined promotions specialist Tracy Locke as a client service director, one of four at the Omnicom Group agency. “But if I’m in a store, that’s the last place we can create a change of action. If I have a promotion, and you don’t, I hope you’re reaching for me.”

Bell was most recently at 141 Worldwide in Dallas, where as vp and client engagement partner he oversaw Nokia’s b-to-b account. At TL, which has an estimated $270 million in billings and 565 staffers, he is responsible for Frito-Lay promotions and reports to Tim Zuckert, general manager of the shop’s Wilton, Conn., office.

Bell will spend time in Wilton, TL’s Dallas headquarters and Frito-Lay’s Plano, Texas, offices. He assumes the duties of Kathleen Mulcahy, who remains partner, executive client service director and is “working on different strategic initiatives and helping out in new business,” said Zuckert.

“[Bell is] a straightforward, thoughtful person, and he really cares about where [Frito-Lay’s] business is going,” Zuckert said.

Bell majored in political science at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Ore., believing he would attend law school. But he underestimated the influence of his father, Robb Bell, a top marketer at H.J. Heinz in the mid-1970s.

“Critiquing advertising and promotions is something I’ve listened to [for years],” Bell said. “The more I learned about it, the more fun it was.”

Bell began his career as a field salesman at Kimberly-Clark, becoming head of regional marketing for Dallas in 1989. Following that, he worked with his father at Family Brands in Vancouver before returning to Dallas to open an office for Ryan Partnership.