Being True to Nissan

Nissan North America has approved creative concepts for the first work from True, the new multicultural shop hired by the car maker last summer to handle ads targeting African-American consumers.

The ideas are “provocative,” yet still “within the tone and character” of Nissan’s general-market efforts, said Steve Wilhite, Nissan’s vp of marketing. As such, he added, “We will run this in the general market as well as African-American-specific media.”

Like other Nissan advertising, the work, which Wilhite declined to describe further, will incorporate the “Shift” theme that Nissan and lead agency TBWA\Chiat\Day introduced in August. The first ads are expected to break in late January.

That is later than Wilhite had hoped. Still, the eight-person shop needed time to become certified as a minority business and then to become familiar with the Nissan and Infiniti brands. (New York-based True received its certification in September.)

Three of the agency’s principals—CEO Rich Wayner, chairman Claude Grunitzsky and creative di rector Christopher Davis—teamed with TBWA\C\D to win Nissan’s multicultural business in July.

As planned, TBWA Worldwide will take a one-third stake in True, with Wayner and Grunitzsky owning the rest. The fourth principal, COO Valencia Gayles, is a former Saatchi & Saatchi account executive. Gayles and Davis work out of TBWA\C\D’s office in Playa del Rey, Calif., while Wayner and Grunitzsky are based in New York.