Change at Nissan Will Mean Change for TBWA C/D

NEW YORK-A management shuffle at Nissan Motor Corp. USA last week, which included the departure of president Bob Thomas, will lead to changes in TBWA Chiat/Day’s “Enjoy the Ride” campaign for the client, said sources.
Thomas, viewed as the main champion of the “Enjoy” campaign at Nissan, will be replaced by Minoru Nakamura, Nissan’s top Japanese executive in North America.
Brad Bradshaw, the new vice president of marketing at Nissan, said the campaign “will probably evolve, [but] we believe it is working for us.” He declined to elaborate. Nissan will continue to use the Mr. K character in its ads, he added.
Sources said, however, that the downplaying of Mr. K is being considered as one of several options. Others include: a shift toward model-specific ads; more dealership ads; and a cut in Nissan’s $400 million ad budget, with money shifted into dealer incentives. The agency, which has been spending up to $1 million creating some image spots, will also have its production budget cut, said sources.
Through September, Nissan’s year-to-date sales were down 2.7 percent. In April, TBWA Chiat/Day broke a campaign to address the concern of dealers that “Enjoy the Ride” did not use a hard enough sell.
Tom Patty, worldwide account director on the Nissan business, said the main elements of the campaign, such as the themeline, will remain, but the agency “will do some tactical things to help Nissan get their sales up.”
The agency has seen four presidents in its 10 years on the business.