Michael Allen Joins to Oversee $400 Mil. N.A. Nissan Account
LOS ANGELES–A former Nike marketing executive has been hired by TBWA/Chiat/Day to oversee its $400 million North American Nissan account.
Michael Allen, 35, who has Southern California roots, has joined the Playa del Rey, Calif., agency as group account director. Most recently, he was marketing director at Nike Canada in Thornhill, Ontario.
He replaces Robert LePlae, who was promoted last November to TBWA Worldwide’s Japan office to help set up a new joint venture with Hakuhodo, servicing Nissan there [Adweek, Dec. 6]. That venture, which is still in the works, is meant to solidify Nissan’s global business.
Allen was recommended by LePlae, said shop officials. The two worked together at American Honda Motor agency Rubin Postaer and Associates in the early 1990s.
“Mike is a really talented guy and has a lot of worldwide branding experience,” said Tom Carroll, president and CEO at TBWA/C/D. “He understands the car business and is a great addition to our team.” Allen could not be reached.
Allen is the second senior executive with Nike ties to join the shop in recent months. Last October, it hired Chuck McBride, a co-creative chief on Nike at Wieden & Kennedy in Portland, Ore., to be executive creative director at the shop’s San Francisco office.
Some observers have speculated TBWA/C/D is interested in making inroads on the Nike account.
A native of San Diego, Allen began his career at BBDO in Los Angeles, working on the Apple Computer business. In 1990, he joined RPA, Santa Monica, Calif., where he was an account manager on Honda for nearly three years.
He joined Nike in 1993 as advertising manager responsible for numerous sport categories, including basketball, golf, ACG (All Condition Gear) and retail. His strategic contributions led to several award-winning Nike campaigns, including “Hopper Football,” “Baseball Strike,” “Lil’ Penny,” “Hockey Goalies” and Brand Jordan. He had been at Nike Canada since 1998.