Nissan has figured out that Google Earth and Street View are addictive. Who hasn't wanted to walk the streets of Kinshasa without actually going there? How about driving those streets in a Nissan Rogue, but virtually? Well, you can't. In fact you probably can’t do it in real life. But Nissan, via a partnership with Google Maps, its Street View function and its satellite API, lets you get a look at the car from the inside, and outside while it drives -- and flies -- around some major metropolitan centers, via a program called “The Detour.”
The effort, set to "Yala" by M.I.A., lets you pick major U.S. cities and a few others around the world as a setting for a review of the car. The experience, created by digital agency Critical Mass, also ropes in movie photographer Guillermo Navarro, production house Unit9, and effects firm Digital Domain/Mothership. You don't drive the car, exactly, so much as follow it. The program maps out the route and the car takes off, doing impossible stunts, including shooting up into the air, as it follows a red route guide, which is more like a magic carpet.
The digital platform also has a dealership lead-generation feature, where users can schedule a test drive -- as well as a social media component at #TakeTheDetour. Nissan says the site has pre-programmed routes around major U.S. cities too, and the virtual test drive will be promoted via online media buys, including home page takeovers on MSN and Yahoo and promotion on Nissan’s social media channels.
In separate news, Allyson Witherspoon has taken the helm as director of marketing and media at sister brand luxury automaker Infiniti. She succeeds Keith St. Clair, who assumed the role of director of Infiniti product planning. Witherspoon will report directly to Michael Bartsch, VP, Infiniti Americas, as well as Vincent Gillet, VP of marketing, Infiniti Motor Company Ltd. She comes to Infiniti from Volvo's Amsterdam office, where she was global business director. She has also worked on the agency side handling marketing initiatives for BMW North America and Mercedes-Benz USA.