True North Launches Database Services Division

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Global agency conglomerate True North Communications, Chicago, entered the database management and mining business this week with the unveiling of a new operating unit that will help advertisers reach more targeted customers across a variety of media.


"We've long believed that a high-end data analytics and mining services company would become increasingly important to us in the field of Web-based solutions," said David Bell, chairman/CEO of True North, which owns Bozell, TN Media, FCB Worldwide and Tierney & Partners.


"We looked for a number of acquisition opportunities but felt that with our strong entrepreneurial nature and with our skills and talent, we could better develop an [operation] on our own," Bell said.


The new company will operate as a separate unit but still be part of the FCB Worldwide company. "We expect to have a name to go with it in the next three to six months," Bell said. The new database solutions company, which already has 35 employees, will operate as part of FCB, but collaborate with all of True North's units in pursuit of growth.


True North's decision to enter the data-mining field will no doubt dovetail with the company's ongoing efforts to continue making acquisitions while pursuing more global growth over the course of the year. The company also has indicated it intends to buy more public relations firms abroad as part of an effort to grow its BSMG Worldwide unit.


True North also expanded FCB Worldwide by purchasing public relations, advertising and marketing communications shops throughout Europe.


Although True North Communications' diversified companies unit is already in the direct marketing communications business and the public relations sector, its decision to move more aggressively into database development further signifies the importance of being able to offer a full suite of integrated services to a range of clients across all owned properties.


True North Communications, which pursued a complete restructuring last year, reported last month that its net income was $42.2 million for the fourth quarter of 1999, compared with a $7.3 million loss for the same period the previous year.


Bell was named True North's chairman/CEO as part of last year's restructuring. The company competes primarily with Interpublic, Omnicom and WPP Group. It is also the founder of online advertising services network DoubleClick Inc., New York.


Omnicom Group Acquires


Interest in recruitsoft.com


Agency conglomerate Omnicom Group Inc., New York, said last week it was investing in online recruiting human resources management firm recruitsoft.com, San Francisco.


Launched in 1996, recruitsoft.com provides advanced enterprisewide recruiting solutions over the Internet in the fields of aerospace, technology, communications, manufacturing, finance and professional services.


"In our view, recruitsoft.com's [approach provides] a complete recruitment platform that has enormous value to corporate recruiters," said Omnicom CEO John Wren.


A Web-based solutions company that encompasses the entire recruiting process while establishing effective dialogue with large numbers of qualified prospective employees would be the name that dominates the corporate recruiting field in the years to come, Wren said.


"Prospective employees are increasingly a very important audience for corporate marketing," said recruitsoft.com CEO Louis Tetu, adding that Omnicom's involvement brings the innovative principles of one-to-one marketing to the recruiting area.


Omnicom, owner of advertising networks BBDO Worldwide, DDB Worldwide and TBWA Worldwide, made the investment through its Internet funding services unit, Communicade, which manages significant minority investments in several leading Internet and digital media development companies. n
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