Digitas Bolsters Planning for General Motors

BOSTON Digitas said it has hired Chris England as vp, director, overseeing planning efforts on General Motors, one of the agency’s flagship assignments.

England fills a new position at the independent shop here. He joins from WPP Group’s Grey in London, where he had been global planning director. At Grey, England worked on British American Tobacco and Nokia. He has also held senior posts at Havas’ Euro RSCG in Sydney, Australia, where Dell Computer and Reckitt-Benckiser were among his clients.

At Digitas, he will guide planning for GM nameplates such as Buick, GMC and Pontiac. The agency handles direct and interactive marketing chores for those vehicles.

England will also contribute his expertise to other Digitas accounts, including AT&T, Procter & Gamble and XM Satellite Radio.

“Chris brings a wealth of planning skills and insight,” said Jeff Flemings, svp of account planning at Digitas.

Last week, Merrill Lynch issued a report saying GM is expected to further increase the proportion of media dollars it spends on digital media, particularly on the local level [Adweek Online, Oct. 20]. The company is also nudging its local dealers to spend more online, per Merrill.

That impending increase should help Digitas, which lowered its revenue guidance in July partly because of looming budget cuts by GM. (The agency said it expected less business from GM and Delta Air Lines, with revenue from those accounts down a combined 14 percent for the year.)

A GM representative declined to comment on the Merrill report.