Tempus tries on branding

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Tempus Worldwide has its eyes on growth in North America, and a new U.S. unit will play a big role.

"In the next several years, North America will provide 40% of our overall revenue," said Mark Sherrington, chairman of London-based Tempus. "Tempus Fusion will be the power behind this growth."

Tempus-which last week agreed to be acquired by Havas Advertising (See story, P. 3)-is poised this week to announce formation of Tempus Fusion, Westport, Conn. The organization is an evolution of Fusion 5, a Westport brand marketing consultancy the U.K. shop bought last September. Fusion 5 and Tempus Fusion clients will include Chrysler Group, Coca-Cola Co.'s PowerAde, Nike and AT&T Corp.

Tempus Fusion will focus on brand-building efforts, including events to generate buzz and retail consulting to pick the brains of customers.

For the new consultancy to beef up revenue, its growth could come out of the hides of ad agencies.

"Clients were telling us `bring me business-building solutions beyond strategy and ideas and take it into action,"' said Patrick Meyer, who moves from Fusion 5 president to CEO of Tempus Fusion. "The beauty of Tempus Fusion is it brings together bits of expertise" from Tempus siblings, "but now with common methodology and training."

Siblings are digital designer Outrider, media specialist CIA and Brown/KSDP, a brand identity outfit. The 250 staffers from those companies can be called in for Tempus Fusion clients as needed. Fusion 5 has 50 staffers. A related operation, BrandFusion, employs 10.

Mr. Meyer cited Fusion 5's team approach to working with Omnicom Group's PentaMark, agency Chrysler Group. "Everything we do, we work hand in hand with PentaMark. It's quite unusual because agencies in other groups usually work together reluctantly."

There was friction between Fusion 5 and WPP Group's J. Walter Thompson USA, Detroit, with the 1999 launch of Ford Motor Co.'s Focus small car. Fusion 5 was brought in by Jim Schroer, then Ford's VP-global marketing. Mr. Schroer has had a decade-long relationship with Fusion 5 dating to his stint as exec VP marketing at R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. Mr. Schroer left Ford in February and is now exec VP-sales and marketing at Chrysler. Mr. Schroer in May hired Fusion 5 to consult at Chrysler.

A JWT executive, who asked not to be named, said Fusion 5 took credit at client meetings for work JWT had done. Said Mr. Meyer: "That's the nature of people with different points of view. I don't believe we took credit falsely. JWT did a good job."

PentaMark, an outgrowth of BBDO Worldwide, won Chrysler's consolidated account last fall, but the key executives who tapped the agency have since left the automaker.

Some PentaMark insiders have dubbed Chrysler's consultant Confusion 5. But Mike Vogel, chairman-CEO of PentaMark, denied there was friction with Fusion. "We will continue to work as a team with Fusion 5 under Jim Schroer's new guidelines," he said. "We are looking enthusiastically to continuing our relationship" with the consultancy.

Allen Rosenshine, BBDO chairman-CEO, said Mr. Schroer this month affirmed to PentaMark that "Fusion 5 is a resource that works with and through PentaMark in bringing input to Chrysler."

"We are partners in that both of us serve Chrysler," Mr. Rosenshine said. "In no way is our level of service or our revenues affected by having Fusion 5 as a supplier to Chrysler. We work with them, we attend meetings with them, and we make presentations with them. I'd describe it as partner resources to Chrysler. It is not a threat."

Contributing: Lisa Sanders and Laurel Wentz

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