In the newly created role, Parkes will report to the WCRS managing director, Will Orr. He has a brief to drive the agency's digital strategic and creative capabilities.
Parkes will work alongside planners on the full range of accounts at the agency, and is expected to recruit for a digital department within WCRS over the coming year.
His appointment does not affect the agency's relationship with Meme, its digital sibling within the Engine Group. WCRS and Meme share the creative and strategic duties on a number of accounts.
Orr said: "WCRS sees digital as an opportunity for the agency rather than a threat. Having a talent like Laurence on board will help us make the most of that opportunity."
Parkes added: "Exciting solutions to marketing problems are increasingly, in some part, digital. I see my role as ensuring that WCRS and its clients see the potential in digital and, through sound strategic thinking, use it effectively."
Parkes, a Campaign Face to Watch in 2003, began his career in 1997 at Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO on the agency's graduate trainee programme. He worked on accounts including Sainsbury's, The Economist and Pizza Hut.
In 2000, he moved to BMP DDB, where he contributed to the agency's 2002 silver IPA Effectiveness Award for its work on Marmite and worked on the Reuters account.
Parkes joined BBH in 2004 as a senior planner, working on Britvic and Audi. He led the development of the Audi television channel's identity, as well as its content and scheduling strategy.