Damon to Lead GM Promo Shop

General Motors has tapped a former Campbell-Ewald Advertising executive to head up R*Works, the automaker’s new national promotions agency.
Ty Damon, formerly executive vice president of cross-brand marketing at CEA in Warren, Mich., has been named general manager of R*Works. He is joined by Steve Tihanyi, a former Oldsmobile division executive, who is now GM’s director of regional activities.
Damon previously was responsible for all Chevrolet direct marketing and loyalty programs at CEA, the national agency for GM’s Chevrolet division. Tihanyi came to Oldsmobile about a year ago from Ross Roy Communications, Bloomfield Hills, Mich., which handles all of Chrysler Corp.’s collateral and below-the-line activities.
R*Works (short for Regional Works) is a support agency that is staffed and housed in the five GM regional offices–Chicago, New York, Dallas, Los Angeles and Atlanta–to provide fully integrated, tactical event sponsorships and local promotions.
Damon and Tihanyi are in the process of hiring staff for those five offices, said Donna Fontana, a representative for the car maker. Shortly after GM announced its marketing reorganization in December, Phil Guarascio, the car maker’s vice president and general manager of advertising and corporate marketing, said R*Works would “take the best of the best” event and field marketing talent from IPG agencies. Employees at IPG shop McCann-Erickson’s Momentum unit, which handles largely the same assignments, would be naturals for the positions, he said.
GM outlined its integrated field marketing strategy in mid-December (Adweek, Dec. 21). The reorganization of its sales, service and marketing structure took effect Jan. 1. Its field sales and marketing staff has been divided into five regions, with 200 marketing teams working with all dealers no matter which GM brands they sell.
As of April 1, GM will no longer fund its dealer marketing groups. The approximately $1 billion in local media buying for GM lines that was previously handled by regional agencies will be consolidated at GM’s Local Communications unit, also created under the auspices of IPG.
Creative duties for regional and local programs will be handled by GM’s five national agencies.