General Motors staffer sets up agency XandY

Collette Dunkley, General Motors' UK and Ireland communications director, has quit to launch a new type of agency focused on helping brands increase sales among women.

The new venture – XandY Communications – is operating on the premise that biological and chemical differences between sexes affect buying patterns, and this should be reflected in PR campaigns.

Dunkley is a friend of Chime Communications chair­ Lord Bell, whose group invested an undisclosed amount in XandY. Chime chairman of advertising and marketing services Sue Farr also has a seat on its board.

‘XandY’s knowledge of the important differences that underpin the way both sexes behave at every stage of the purchase cycle means it offers a refreshing approach to PR,’ said Bell.

‘Most marketing is very male-oriented,’ Dunkley told PRWeek. ‘There have been attempts at this sort of thing in advertising before. I have experience of targeting women through PR in my work at General Motors.’

In her previous role, Dunkley pulled GM’s brand comms – Vauxhall, Chevrolet, Opel and Saab – under a single function. She said she aimed to enhance women’s car-buying experience at the company.

‘My plan is to work with one serious brand in each sector,’ said Dunkley.

XandY is aiming to handle PR and marketing briefs and is already advising telecoms company Tiscali.

Dunkley joined GM in 2003 (PRWeek, 26 June 2003) from an interim corporate comms consultancy role at telecoms network firm Colt Telecom. Prior to Colt, she held various other telecoms comms roles.

General Motors has moved swiftly to replace Dunkley, drafting in US ‘muscle-car’ company Shelby’s V-P of marketing, product planning and comms Joe Jacuzzi. He relocated from the US this week to take the role, reporting to Europe V-P of comms Julie Hamp.

Jacuzzi said: ‘I couldn’t turn down a chance to move back to the General Motors fold.’

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