Honda expected to name Diageo man as brand head

Honda%20red%20lightHonda is understood to have appointed former Diageo marketer Harry Cooklin as its new brand chief. Cooklin replaces Matthew Coombe, who left to join Vodafone last year.

It is thought that Cooklin will join Honda from the company’s direct marketing agency Hicklin Slade, where he has been freelancing. He will take Coombe’s former title of marketing communications manager at Honda and will work closely with the car manufacturer’s agencies Wieden & Kennedy, Starcom and Hicklin Slade.

Coombe left Honda at the end of last year after nine years to join Vodafone UK as head of brand (MW October 12, 2006). He worked closely with Honda’s previous head of marketing Simon Thompson on the company’s award-winning Cog and Grrr ads, as well as the more recent Choir and Impossible Dream.

Cooklin’s appointment is the latest in a series of changes to Honda’s marketing department. Thompson’s replacement Jeff Dodds left in April to join Callaway Golf as European marketing director and was later replaced by Tom Gardner. Cooklin will work with Gardner, who was previously head of after-sales, and Honda’s manager of customer communications Ian Armstrong.

Dodds increased Honda’s focus on digital advertising during his time as head of marketing. He called a digital review earlier this year but the company is thought to have scrapped it and is staying with incumbent Midas (MW May 17).

Communications planning agency Naked was axed from Honda’s roster in July last year, soon after Dodds took over from Thompson.

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