Nissan media set for £125m rethink

LONDON - Nissan is preparing to review its media arrangements in the UK and the Netherlands, throwing open the question of a reorganisation of its pan-European planning and buying arrangements, worth an estimated £125m.

OMD handles the bulk of the pan-European media planning and buying account, but rival media networks have been warned to expect a pitch in the two territories. Manning Gottlieb OMD handles the UK's £25m planning and buying. However, the account is split in The Netherlands, with OMD managing planning and Carat holding the Dutch buying account.

Manning Gottlieb OMD's chief executive, Nick Manning, insisted the agency's UK contract would run until at least the end of the year, as part of the OMD network's pan-European appointment. "This is untrue," he said of rival agencies being put on alert. "It's just speculation." Nissan UK denied a review.

However, rumours of instability have surrounded the Nissan account since Renault, which owns a 37% stake in the manufacturer, pooled its pan-European media into Carat in 2000. Speculation had intensified following the Carat group's resignation of Peugeot-Citroen's £185m media account, covering the UK, Germany, Belgium and Denmark in July 2001. However, a heavily rumoured reorganisation of Nissan's pan-European media into the network failed to materialise.

OMD subsequently pitched for the £500m pan-European PSA business, picking up the account in the UK, Germany, Switzerland and Hungary to complement its Italian business. Media Planning Group retained the Spanish and French accounts.

Creative for the Nissan account is handled by OMD's fellow Omnicom network, TBWA. A specialised TBWA.OMD network was created to house the media business when OMD was appointed in 2000. The consolidation of creative and media was a part of Nissan's then chief operating officer Carlos Ghosn's "revival plan", which called for a simplification of all the company's global suppliers as part of a cost-cutting operation.

The hub of Nissan's creative account has since been relocated from TBWA\London to the network's operation in Paris, TBWA\France, in response to demands from the manufacturer.

Pan-European creative for Renault is handled by Publicis, whose sister media networks, Optimedia and Zenith, split Renault's pan-European media with IPG's Initiative prior to the Carat centralisation. Zenith and Optimedia failed with a combined pitch for the PSA business split between OMD and Media Planning Group.

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