DETROIT - Nissan North America is headed to Nashville, but it appears its ad agency doesn't have to go. Steve Wilhite, senior vice president of global marketing for Nissan Motor Co., said TBWA/Chiat/Day likely will stay in the Los Angeles area.
"From my perspective, we do business with them because of their creative abilities, their independent thought and the culture they bring to the brand," Wilhite said at the Detroit auto show. "We would be making a horrific mistake to ask their key people to move. That would be the first step in Chiat losing the account."
Wilhite was vice president of marketing for Nissan North America before being named to his current position in 2004. He is based in Tokyo and works with Nissan's marketing chiefs worldwide.
"Japan is uncomfortable for me, but it makes me more attentive; I ask more questions so that makes me a better marketer," he said.
The same may hold true for Nissan's marketing department when it moves south, he said.
"Change is always hard, but when you take people out of their comfort zones, it may make them better marketers."