Lexus and Nissan are both featuring beautiful models in some new marketing efforts, and they aren't just the cars. Both automakers are doing thematic advertising for the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, hitting the stands this week, and swimsuit models are central to both efforts.
As part of its sponsorship of the 2011 Swimsuit Issue, Nissan is running two co-branded efforts to promote its Juke car: "Model Search" and "Model vs. Model." The Model Search lets consumers help choose which of eight aspiring models will get to be in the 2012 issue of the Swimsuit Edition. According to Sports Illustrated, this will be a first because no model has ever been guaranteed a spot in a forthcoming issue.
The Model Search program centers on a social-media contest running Feb. 15 to March 9, in which people can vote for one of eight models at SI.com/ModelSearch or via mobile phone. The winner is to be chosen on March 10. The eight women are featured in a co-branded, two-page spread that also sports Microsoft's "TagReader" icon. When consumers scan the icon with their smartphones, the phone's graphical user Web interface goes to content about the models that also lets the user vote for one of the eight.
The campaign also has a "Model vs. Model" element that pits the Juke car against a swimsuit model. The ads, in both a print gatefold surrounding the photo spread of the eight competing models and an online video, are hosted by "the Juke Guy" from the Juke launch campaign. The ads parody auto laboratory tests by having a scantily clad woman being tested for things like curb appeal, agility, and aerodynamics. The print ad also uses a Microsoft TagReader icon to get users to digital video of the "tests."
"We've had a very deep integrated partnership with SI for the past four years with NCAA College Football, which has included an experiential tour at key games," says a Nissan spokesperson. "However, this is the second time Nissan has partnered with SI Swimsuit Issue. We had very positive integration with SI Swimsuit on the launch of our Nissan 370Z in the 2009 issue."
Lexus is running a four-page spread touting its 552-horsepower LFA supercar and featuring Dutch supermodel Rianne Ten Haken, who stands in the center of a hanger while the car does drifting-style donuts within feet of her.
The automaker is running behind-the-scenes footage of the shoot at Lexus' YouTube channel and on iPad and Galaxy Tablet apps, and on SI.com.