DMB&B finds new Australian partner

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SYDNEY -- International ad network D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles has been forced to find a new ally in Australia. The move comes after David Morris, chairman and chief executive of Sydney-based ad agency DMB&B/Weekes Morris Osborn, resigned to form his own agency, Morris & Partners.

DMB&B is forming a new alliance in Australia with Melbourne boutique agency Pure Creative. The new agency will be known as Pure Creative/DMB&B, with Pure Creative principal Chris Clark becoming Australian managing director of the new operation which will be based in Melbourne, reporting to DMB&B Asia-Pacific South president Ken Lambert in Sydney. DMB&B will have a "substantial" minority shareholding in the new agency.

The Weekes Morris Osborne name disappears after 17 years in the industry. DMB&B acquired the agency in 1990 and then managing director David Weekes left in 1994. Creative director Richard Osborn resigned last May and plans to start a new venture. Sydney creative Chris Cudlipp and strategic planner Phil Sheldon have also left recently to join other agencies.

Morris & Partners starts with about $8m in billings and is negotiating to take several DMB&B/WMO staff and some clients, apparently under an agreement with DMB&B head office in New York. Just last month, Morris was appointed to DMB&B Worldwide's management committee.

DMB&B/WMO's Mars business, however, including Uncle Ben's brands Chum, Whiskas, Whiskettes and Trill, is expected to move to Pure Creative, which surprised the industry last May when it was appointed by Telstra, Australia's major telecommunications company, to handle a "large slice" of its $80m account.

DMB&B/WMO reported a loss of about $1m last year after billings fell $10m to about $40m. Recent client losses have included high profile accounts such as Qantas airlines and the Westpac banking group.

Copyright October 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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