GM Planworks CEO Dennis Donlin: TV is getting more digital.
The new assignment suggests that GM is shifting from traditional media buying to integrated and technological approaches to marketing its vehicles. GM is the nation's top advertiser.
GM Planworks, a division of Starcom MediaVest Group, assumed all media functions for GM this month. Planworks is forming a local broadcast ad-buying operation dedicated to GM.
GM spent almost $2.51 billion to advertise in U.S. media in 2004, according to TNS Media Intelligence. The company spent roughly $1.50 billion on TV commercials and about $60.0 million on the Internet last year, TNS says.
GM previously assigned separate entities to handle media planning and national, local and Internet media buying. Planworks now has all of those duties.
"GM is looking for new ways to go to market that take advantage of its scale," says Planworks CEO Dennis Donlin. "Everyone has a Planworks card, and everyone reports to me."
Donlin has named Curt Hecht executive vice president and chief digital officer of Planworks. Hecht, formerly a senior vice president and managing director of Planworks, will be a member of the agency's senior management team and report to Donlin.
Also reporting to Donlin are chief planning officer Mary Carpenter, chief research officer Jana O'Brien, executive director of local investment Kevin Gallagher and chief investment officer Mike Rosen.
The change also suggests GM's aspirations as a leading digital advertiser. "For a high-ticket product targeting an upscale consumer, if there's a category that's emerging as critical, it's that space," Donlin says.
Planworks handled media planning for GM before the company added media buying to its portfolio this year.
Donlin says he expects senior managers of national broadcast, local broadcast and digital media initiatives to work together on large projects and coordinate negotiations with key vendors.
"You can't be talking to Google with one hand and Disney with another and not connect them within your organization," he says.
GM will use its spending clout to persuade media outlets to help create integrated advertising and marketing campaigns, Donlin adds.
TV is becoming more digital with such devices as personal video recorders, Donlin says. "You're going to have to stop siloing national, local and Internet because those are all going to reside in the same place in the long run," he says.
Planworks also has created a local investment group that will have five regional directors. The group will work only for GM, Donlin says. The offices are aligned with GM's regional headquarters and will work closely with GM's regional staff, he adds.
Says Donlin: "We hope we'll be able to connect everything that's happening on the national level right on down to the local level."