Lexus Narrows Search for Branding Shop

LOS ANGELES—Lexus has cut at least two of the four finalists from its review to find a shop to handle a long-term branding project, sources said. Those not advancing include the joint teams of Pentagram and Prophet in San Francisco and TMI in Las Vegas and The Zimmerman Agency in Tallahassee, Fla. A representative at Lexus in Torrance, Calif., confirmed that it was down to four but declined further comment. A decision could come as early as this week, sources said. The status of Lexus lead agency Team One Advertising in El Segundo, Calif., is not expected to be affected.

Havas Delays Tempus Offer

NEW YORK—Havas is seeking an extension of its $610 million bid for the U.K.’s Tempus Group to Sept. 17. With the extra time, the company will attempt to gain further acceptance from Tempus shareholders and may try to increase its cash offer above that of takeover rival WPP Group. Havas currently holds 30 percent of Tempus stock. An initial 3.6 percent purchase was made on July 19, the day it said it intended to buy Tempus. Havas senior managers then received irrevocable undertakings—a pledge of the sale of stock—amounting to 26.5 percent more. Last month, WPP CEO Martin Sorrell offered a competing bid of $629 million for Tempus. WPP owns 22 percent of Tempus’ stock.

New Health and Beauty Company Launches Review

LOS ANGELES—Seeking to partner with a creative boutique, pHree Labs, a new health and beauty product marketer, is launching a review this week. The seven-person L.A. company was created by Mark Freeman and Jill Freeman Bucksbaum, members of the Freeman family, which sold Freeman Cosmetic Corp. to Dial Corp. in 1998. The budget, which includes creative and media, has not been determined. pHree Labs expects to unveil products in the fourth quarter, supported by advertising that could include print, spot radio and online efforts.

Bryant to Head Publicis Dialog Seattle

LOS ANGELES—Steve Bryant, 45, assumed leadership of Publicis Dialog in Seattle. He will keep his national role as chief creative officer for public relations. He succeeds former president Jeff Hasen. Bryant is expected to name another senior officer to direct client services and staff development and strengthen media-relations offerings.

Suissa Miller Launches Anti-Gossip Campaign

LOS ANGELES—Nonprofit last week launched a campaign aimed at reducing gossip and hurtful language. Ads feature people pledging to think about the words they use. Creative for the print, TV and billboard ads was donated by Suissa Miller in Los Angeles. The shop’s chairman, David Suissa, is international chairman of The organization is initially spending $300,000 to run the ads in Washington, D.C.

MAT Awards First Scholarship

LOS ANGELES—The Minority Advertising Training program awarded its first scholarship, funded by Saatchi & Saatchi and worth $2,500, to Marisa Cherry, a senior at Loyola Marymount University and a former MAT intern.