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Nissan’s top marketer on why specialist agencies for digital or data are ‘nonsense’

The future of the big five holding companies is in question unless they stop operating as separate businesses with specialist units for digital and data, according to Nissan’s global head of marketing, communications and brand strategy, Roel de Vries.

He says working with different agencies with these specialisms is damaging because both digital and data should be “at the core” of everything brands do. Instead, he believes single units with one P&L should be set-up.

Talking to Marketing Week at the World Federation of Advertisers’ Global Marketer Week in Tokyo, de Vries says WPP, Publicis, Omnicom, Interpublic and Dentsu need to “take responsibility to change the industry” or risk losing money to digital media giants like Google.

“With the power of the holding companies they should step up and become the experts because if they don’t their existence is questionable. I can go direct to Google and Google wants to do my creative too. We need to transform. Clients and agency holding companies need proper partnerships. They [holding companies] need to say ‘what do we need to do, where do we need to invest?’