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Digital agency Digitas/Chicago will announce today that Doug Ryan has joined the firm as managing director. As the digital advertising arena has expanded exponentially in recent years, Ryan is joining a shop that has tripled in size in less than three years. The client roster of Digitas/Chicago is made up of two-thirds Fortune 500 companies and more than 50 percent of them are Fortune 100 firms.

Ryan is the former principal and co-leader of Rebar Partners. Prior to Rebar, Ryan was executive vice-president, global client service director at Energy BBDO/chicago, where he led the integrated global agency marketing team for Beam Global Spirits & Wine and provided strategic leadership to Wrigley global marketing and to the Chicago White Sox. During his time at Energy BBDO, Ryan oversaw a global agency team of approximately 75 marketing professionals handling traditional and digital communications.

Chicago-based Tony Weisman has expanded his reach within the Digitas empire. Digitas president Colin Kinsella has realigned the company offices. Weisman now becomes president not only of the Chicago office, but of Boston and Detroit too. Weisman also will continue to be the global client lead for Digitas. Joanne Zaiac, currently president of the New York and Stamford operations, will also oversee Digitas' Atlanta office.

"Joanne and Tony are two remarkable leaders who are adept at growing business and attracting top industry talent," said Kinsella. Weisman joined Digitas in 2007, after a stint at DraftFCB/Chicago, where he was reportedly instrumental in helping lure the giant Walmart account to the agency, though the business was there only a short while. Weisman was part of the DraftFCB team that wooed the now infamous former Walmart marketing honcho Julie Roehm and convinced her DraftFCB was where she should put the Walmart account. Within weeks, however, Roehm's superiors had yanked the account from DraftFCB and moved it to the Martin Agency, in Richmond, Va.

Puri, Anita_January2010.JPGAnita Puri has joined Digitas/Chicago as senior vice-president of marketing for the Kraft account. She will report to Susan Canavari, executive vice-president of Digitas. Puri joins the agency from Quaker Foods & Snacks division of PepsiCo, where she was director of marketing leading the Equity and Marketing Communications Group. Prior to joining PepsiCo, Puri worked in marketing communications at Ameritech. She also previously spent 12 years in the Chicago advertising industry at several ad agencies, including Leo Burnett, Foote Cone & Belding and Element 79 Partners. The Puri appointment is the second strategic move to serve Digitas' growing Kraft relationship. The formation of the KraftOne Team was announced in early January. That team serves the Kraft global agency of record relationship.

fosters_longdistance.pngIf you can't beat it, go back to it. That's apparently what Digitas/Chicago has decided to do. The agency next week will launch a new ad campaign for Foster's Australian lager that is, essentially, an update on the famous and familiar "How To Speak Australian" effort that the beer brand used for more than a decade before the campaign was dropped (bad move) in 2002. The Digitas effort is, at least initially, comprised of three 15-second commercials that give us slice-of-life moments that are meant to be uniquely Australian. Only one of three vignettes, however, seemed distinctively Australian to us, and that would be one where an Aussie guy is functioning as a human GPS device. The others involve a man who doesn't have the money to pay for his lager and another features a guy trying to make the moves on a woman at a bar from a distance. All of the spots could be funnier, but perhaps fans of the original campaign will at least be happy to know the Foster's folks now realize what a good thing they had going back then.

She's back. After being abruptly dismissed by Tribal DDB several months ago, Liz Ross is back as chief growth officer for Digitas' United States operations. Though she will continue to live and operate out of Chicago, Ross said she will report to and work closely with Digitas executives based on the east coast, including CEO Laura Lang and global Chief Marketing Officer Seth Solomons.

Ross said one of her top priorities will be driving new business to Digitas. But in order to do that, she told us she will have a hand in ensuring the firm's creative is where it needs to be attract and hold on to new business. Ross will serve on Digitas' Global Growth Committee, helmed by Solomons.

When she was ousted from Tribal DDB earlier this year, Ross was the firm's president of U.S. operations and global chief marketing officer.

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Lewis Lazare has written the Media Mix column for the Chicago Sun-Times for the past seven and a half years.

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