Luxury auto brand Infiniti is launching a new marketing campaign that celebrates the brand's 20th anniversary in the U.S., while offering leasing and financing offers. The Web-centric "Limited Engagement Winter Event," running through Jan. 4, includes home page takeovers, in-market behavioral targeting on third-party automotive sites and, in a first for Infiniti, a sneak preview of TV creative on social media sites.
The new TV ads, via LA-based TBWAChiatDay, also further Infiniti's identification with Japanese art and design. The ads suggest, for instance, that Infiniti designers' use of sweeping arcs and lines on paper hails from Japanese shodo-style calligraphy.
The ads go on to show artful shots of fine wood, timepieces and vehicle elements all photographed to suggest jewelry. Central to the campaign is an incentive of 0% financing up to 36 months, on everything under the Infiniti badge except for Infiniti G37 Convertible.
The media schedule includes spot TV in the top15 Infiniti brand markets starting No. 16 and network cable TV on Dec. 12. An additional Yahoo home page takeover unit will appear on November 17th, along with targeted digital home page takeovers on CNN, CNN Money and CNET News.
Ben Poore, vice president of the Infiniti business unit, says customer feedback was critical to the campaign's creative direction.
"We went out and spoke with customers and asked them what the one thing was that best represents the Infiniti brand," he says. "That idea of [design] is what really came out -- it's interesting because the truth is that every single one of our designs starts with brushstroke."
He said the timing of the brand's 20th anniversary gave Infiniti an opportunity to detour from the usual year-end sell-down theme of holiday festivity and cars as Christmas-tree ornaments. "We decided to come out with something that talked more about what brand is about; what we are really trying to say in the campaign is that we have a different, human way of approaching our cars."
Although TV ads are set for later in November, the effort really launched last week with home page takeovers on AOL, Yahoo and third-party auto sites AOL Autos, Edmunds, MSN Auto, Kelley Blue Book and Cars.com. On Nov. 9, a week before the ads break, Infiniti will show them to the brand's fans on Facebook and other social media sites.
"Generally the focus has been TV first and then online, but we have flipped that on its head," he says, adding that sharing the creative with fans is "a very different way of approaching things. It's our largest social-media campaign for an event like thi."
Poore says the company will have substantial media investment this quarter, but with a digital focus. "We are much more efficient in managing budget and marketing than a year ago. We have gotten better generally at managing in a difficult environment." He also hinted at some "very big" promotional deals on the horizon, but declined to comment, as the deals are still in the works.
Local print ads will appear in newspapers in nine markets. Infiniti Limited Engagement Winter Event advertising will also run in Asian Indian local newspapers in New York, and Chinese local newspapers in San Francisco and Los Angeles, and will appear on Hispanic Web sites.