DALTON SPEARHEADS MOVES BY SAATCHI TO STRETCH OUT FORMATION OF CO-MARKETING SERVICES FOLLOWS DEALS IN DIRECT, DIGITAL MEDIA

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A quiet but forceful presence is behind Saatchi & Saatchi as the agency moves to expand its service options beyond traditional advertising: Vice Chairman Tony Dalton.

In just over a year, Mr. Dalton has helped the agency grow in a number of new areas, with his recent efforts leading to Saatchi & Saatchi's pending acquisition of co-marketing shop GMG Marketing Services and the spawning of a new unit called Saatchi & Saatchi Co-Marketing Service, announced last week.

Mr. Dalton, deputy chairman of Saatchi's London office until January 1997, has been forging ahead to fill his charge of expanding Saatchi beyond advertising to a fully integrated "ideas company."

RELATIONSHIP SHOP

Not only has Mr. Dalton been instrumental in the launch of Co-Marketing Service, but he has been the key player in facilitating a strategic alliance with relationship-marketing shop Lieber Levett Koenig Farese Babcock, New York, and the launch of interactive unit Darwin Digital.

"Tony has been the centerpiece in all these things," said Saatchi CEO Bob Seelert. "He's the rod that stirs the drink in all three of these" initiatives.

In an interview, Mr. Dalton said he began "looking at areas where we were lacking, and focused on things we thought would be important in the future" before he joined as North American vice chairman. Before even arriving in the U.S. with longtime partner Jennifer Laing, who is now North American CEO, Mr. Dalton had contacted Lieber Levett to express his interest in working with the shop.

In March 1997, the direct marketing shop and Saatchi struck a deal for a joint venture, and Lieber Levett actually moved into Saatchi office space.

"We had nothing in relationship or direct marketing," explained Mr. Dalton.

Saatchi & Saatchi had been without a major direct-marketing resource since 1995, when Kobs & Draft bought itself back from Saatchi's former holding company Cordiant; Interpublic Group of Cos. later bought the renamed Draft Worldwide.

INTERACTIVE UNIT

Mr. Dalton also had set his sights on forming an interactive unit that would service Saatchi & Saatchi clients while being able to stand on its own.

"I thought, we've got to do it. I don't want to lose business to independent [providers]," Mr. Dalton said.

Saatchi & Saatchi spawned Darwin Digital in the spring of '97, and the shop now has an estimated $50 million to $60 million in billings and is expanding beyond the U.S. to Europe and Asia.

DIVERSE ROLES

Despite his short residence in the U.S., Mr. Dalton has taken on a multitude of diverse roles within Saatchi & Saatchi. In addition to his charge of expanding the non-traditional areas at the agency, Mr. Dalton functions as the worldwide account exec on Hewlett-Packard Co. and directly oversees the New York office's PaineWebber account.

He also oversees the Toronto, San Francisco and Rochester, N.Y., offices, as well as Hispanic agency Conill.

Mr. Dalton said he is also much interested in sports marketing and sponsorship opportunities.

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