Jonathan Cropper, one of Nissan North America's leading proponents of nontraditional marketing, has left the automaker. He will join WPP Group's Young & Rubicam advertising agency in New York.
As Nissan's senior manager for youth and urban communications, Cropper, 33, was known for offbeat marketing efforts.
At Young & Rubicam, Cropper will be creative content and channel strategist. The agency represents Ford's Premier Automotive Group, which includes the Volvo, Jaguar, Land Rover and Aston Martin brands. Cropper also will handle nonautomotive accounts.
Nissan hired Cropper in July 2002 to develop "new cutting-edge communications programs to help Nissan and Infiniti brands effectively reach young, multicultural audiences as well as potential customers living in urban areas."
Cropper was not available for comment. Nissan spokesman Tim Gallagher says Cropper "really pushed in that area of lifestyle and youth - alternative marketing."
Gallagher says Nissan will name a successor to Cropper.
Cropper's work included street scenes and surprise elements. For example, a program called "Theater Jam" placed actors working for Nissan among the audience in movie theaters. Their performances before the start of the film accompanied onscreen commercials for Nissan. A campaign for the Altima involved actors pulling up their shirts to reveal their abdomens branded with a metallic "A."
Cropper also placed an Altima in a glass cube outside trendy urban nightspots.
Before he joined Nissan, Cropper founded IdeaSpa, a firm that developed marketing strategies for movie studios and major national brands.