TBWA and Hakuhodo have set up a joint-venture agency in the mainland to run and manage the Nissan business in China, which was won following a competitive pitch earlier this year.

According to Keith Smith, regional chairman, TBWA\ Asia-Pacific, the joint-venture is based on the G1 concept, originally set up in Japan five years ago to handle the Nissan business globally.

G1 was behind the marque's 'Shift' global advertising communication. The campaign helped unify the Nissan brand image around the world.

The new agency, which will be named TBWA\Hakuhodo China, will begin operations in February 2006 and is expected to have 60 staff in Guangzhou. It will run as a completely separate operation from TBWA and Hakuhodo offices that already exist in China. TBWA and Hakuhodo will each hold 50 per cent share in the new operation, with Hakuhodo's Hirroshi Ochiai as chairman. TBWA's Smith will take the role of vice-chairman, with Paul Lee as chief executive officer.

"(TBWA) has been working with Nissan in Europe and it's time to bring that relationship back into Asia. We will both hire and transfer existing staff to make it as effective as possible," said Smith. While the joint-venture will initially only service Nissan, Smith said the company would seek other business in the future.

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