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Nissan's SE-R high-speed solution

GOLD :: Events, Seasonal & Short Term

  OVERVIEW: A success story based on branded entertainment via YouTube.

SITUATION ANALYSIS: Nissan Sentra is a small player in the small car segment. It also suffered from a cheap image because the previous Sentra generation had been sold on price. The plan for Summer 2010 was to use Nissan's performance model - the Sentra SE-R - to create buzz and differentiation. A problem stood in the way, however. The Canadian Advertising Standards Council had implemented a new code that prevented the portrayal of any driving deemed as extreme, unsafe or fast in TV or cinema car advertising. But how do you sell a fast car without showing that it's fast?

STRATEGY & INSIGHT: The passion for exciting performance is alive and well with the small car audience. But beyond driving, these guys have a passion for playing. In this segment, for example, VW Golf had launched using only a video game. And a "nation" of similar minds had come together through Civic TV ads. The challenge for Sentra SE-R was to create a sense of excitement and performance with a limited budget and the new regulations. Given the audience's affinity for video content this led to the decision to make YouTube the main media channel.

EXECUTION: In an earlier time the conventions of automotive advertising would have called for a fast car on a winding road - an over-used formula with limited breakthrough. Perhaps it was a good thing that the new regulations prohibited this, because it spawned something dramatically new. A radio-controlled 1/10 scale model of the Sentra SE-R became the hero of a thrilling 77-second web video. It raced through city streets, before flying through the air to finish up next to a full-size Sentra SE-R. This video lived primarily on Nissan Canada's YouTube channel. Once you watched it you could also see a seven-minute "Making Of" video, while banner ads directed you to the corporate website and the Sentra SE-R landing page for more details. In a client and agency first the video was also launched virally through blog seeding, and this proved to be one of the most successful ways to promote branded entertainment.

RESULTS: SE-R sales for Summer 2010 were more than double those of a year prior (+134%). Overall Sentra sales increased 11.8% giving Sentra its highest compact segment share in five years

CAUSE & EFFECT: It was clear from extensive web-based metrics that the campaign had dramatically broken through, and there were no other variables to account for the growth.

Nissan Canada
Mark McDade - Director, Marketing
Donna Trawinski - Corporate Manager, Marketing
Julie Siabanis - Marketing
Communications Manager

Allen Oke - Creative Director
James Ansley - Creative Director
Mark Mason - Creative Director
Nadya MacNeil - Producer
Richard Phillips - Group Account Director
Trevor Byrne - Account Director
Ryan Lacquement - Account Executive