McCann Staffs Up For Growing GM Biz

Looking to add firepower as its largest client becomes more active, McCann-Erickson, Troy, Mich., has tapped a Bay Area creative to work on its General Motors corporate and Buick division accounts.

Simon Chandler, 41, joined this month as vp, creative director, partnering with Robin Arm, svp and cd, to lead a new third creative group working on GM.

Most recently a freelance art director, Chandler’s last full-time agency gig was as svp, associate creative director at Young & Rubicam, San Francisco. The U.K. native has also worked at Goldberg Moser O’Neill, San Francisco, and Lowe & Partners, New York. He helped launch the Lincoln LS at Y&R and worked on Kia at Goldberg.

Chandler said he is enjoying the Midwest lifestyle after living in San Francisco, New York and London. “This is a big new thing for me, living out in the suburbs,” he said. “It’s still an adventure.”

The impetus behind Chandler’s hire and other new additions (Gary Howell, a 20-year vet of D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, joined as acd on Delphi and Buick collateral print)is a sharp increase in activity from flagship account GM, said Dave Moore, evp and executive creative director. The shop handles corporate work on the Buick division.

“GM is the single greatest creative opportunity in the business today,” Moore said. “I plan to take the fullest advantage of the shot they’re giving us.”

A McCann representative said the pace on the GM corporate account has picked up considerably from when the agency won it about two years ago, as the client pressed ahead with aggressive incentive marketing. McCann did about 15 GM corporate spots in 2002, compared with three the previous year, the rep said.

Moore declined to estimate the additional billings the increase represents. GM spends about $160 million annually on Buick, according to CMR, and about $25 million on corporate ads.